Cardiff, United Kingdom – Wales were “very motivated” to break a six-match losing streak by recording a first “elusive” victory over Australia in six meetings this year, according to assistant coach Shaun Edwards.
Wales have recently endured a torrid time against the Wallabies, losing five times on the trot including the third-place play-off at the World Cup and a three-Test series on summer tour, albeit the latter by the narrow combined total of 11 points.
“Obviously we're very motivated, as we were in the summer and every time we played against them,” Edwards said.
“I know we didn't win a Test in the summer but I think it was the best results Wales have ever had in the southern hemisphere as regards pushing one of the Tri-Nations teams close.
“So we're as motivated as they'll be. It's their last game of what's been a very long season and we're extremely motivated to get that elusive win,” Edwards said in reference to the fact that Saturday's Test will be Australia's 16th in 12 months.
Edwards said a victory over Australia “would be a big feather in our cap” given the poor results against the top three teams by England, Ireland and Scotland.
“They're one of the top three teams in the world, they're an outstanding team. They're playing at a very, very high level and have got some superb players.”
Another incentive for a Welsh victory was the prospect of remaining in the top eight seeds for the 2015 World Cup draw, which takes place in London on Monday.
“The rankings are obviously an issue. We want to stay in the top eight if possible,” said Edwards, the former Wigan and Britain rugby league star.
“Hopefully, it won't be fatal if you drop out of the top eight but ideally you'd want to be in the same position as we were last time. If you're not in the top eight, it could be a little bit tougher.”
Captain Sam Warburton, who will again be up against nemesis David Pocock in Saturday's match at the Millennium Stadium, has never won against the Wallabies, New Zealand or South Africa but said he was ready to taste victory.
“It frustrates me a lot because even Scotland beat Australia and have beaten South Africa as well,” said Warburton, who has seen his team lose to Argentina (26-12), Samoa (26-19) and New Zealand (33-10) this autumn.
“So, it is definitely do-able. It is getting to the stage now where it a case of 'enough is enough'. We really have got to beat them.
“I said to the players before the New Zealand game that I've only been involved for three or four years and it's already getting on my nerves, this whole southern hemisphere scalp thing.
“I don't know what it must be like for guys like Ryan (Jones) and Mike (Phillips), who've been around 10 years or so. I'm definitely feeling like that and the rest of the squad as well. Hopefully that can pull us through on Saturday.” – Sapa-AFP