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Wales v Australia - Talking Points

Published 04/11/2016

Sam Warburton is one of three key figures missing for Wales against Australia
Sam Warburton is one of three key figures missing for Wales against Australia

Wales face Australia at the Principality Stadium on Saturday in their opening game of this season's autumn series.

The Wallabies have not lost against Wales since 2008, winning 11 successive games. Here, Press Association Sport identifies some key talking points ahead of the match.

CAN WALES END THEIR AUSTRALIA HOODOO?

Wales' long run of defeats against Australia has been played out in six different cities - Cardiff, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland - with six of those 11 losses being by five points or fewer. The Wallabies have had a habit of doing just enough, and Wales have not found a way of cracking the code. Victory on Saturday, though, would set Wales up for the rest of a testing November programme that also features appointments with Argentina, Japan and South Africa.

ARE WALES WITHOUT TOO MANY KEY PLAYERS?

Wales go into battle without three influential forwards - Sam Warburton, Alun Wyn Jones and Taulupe Faletau - who have a combined total of 230 caps. Warburton was due to begin his comeback from injury for Cardiff Blues on Friday night, while number eight Faletau remains injured and Jones was not considered for selection this week following the death of his father. Wales have found it a big ask to try to beat Australia when at full strength, so the absence of three such key individuals could prove significant.

CAN WALES STOP DAVID POCOCK AND MICHAEL HOOPER DOMINATING THE BREAKDOWN?

Wallabies flankers Pocock and Hooper are among the most destructive players around when it comes to the key breakdown area, and they will be operating in tandem at the Principality Stadium on Saturday. Pocock starts his first Test at blindside, and if he performs with his usual effectiveness alongside Hooper, then Wales could be in for a tough afternoon. It will come down to more than just the breakdown, but it is such a critical area in modern-day Test rugby that dominance there would give Australia a potentially critical edge.

Press Association

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