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CANBERRA: Wales downed the Brumbies 25-15 in a tour game at Canberra Stadium yesterday, giving coach Rob Howley what he said were selection headaches ahead of this weekend’s second Test.
The Welsh must beat the Wallabies in Melbourne on Saturday to keep the series alive after losing 27-19 in Brisbane last weekend, and Howley used the encounter with the Australian Super Rugby Conference leaders to gauge his options.
The Six Nations champions scored three tries in a blistering opening 40 minutes to lead 19-6 at the break.
But Jake White’s Brumbies clawed back to trail 19-15 through five Zack Holmes penalties before James Hook kicked two penalties to see off the threat of an embarrassment.
Howley rested virtually all of his likely starting players ahead of the next Test with lock Luke Charteris the only one to appear against the Brumbies.
The Welsh tries were scored by Hook, Justin Tipuric and skipper Alun Wyn Jones, with Hook kicking two conversions and two penalties.
Howley said the match had thrown up a number of selection choices for him ahead of the second Test. “We always have headaches,” Howley said. “We’ve got two forward packs that can go head-to-head and it’s great to have those decisions to be made and they’ll be made over the next 48 hours.”
Tipuric said it was a great experience to play against a Super Rugby team. “It was fast and very tough at the breakdown tonight – it was great experience for the guys,” he said.
“We tried to target the breakdown area. It’s obviously refereed differently over here and another learning curve for the guys so the win is a great boost for the squad going into the second Test against Australia.”
Welsh touring sides had lost on their last two trips to Canberra, in 1978 and 1996. – Sapa-AFP