Target on Wallabies halves as Wales prepare for World Cup scrap

Bernard Foley and Will Genia will start together for the first time in 2019 when they run out at Tokyo Stadium on Sunday and they will have an immediate target on their backs as Wales prepare for a World Cup scrap.

Though both have been out of favour at the selection table at times this year but they are set to play pivotal roles in Australia’s most important pool match.

Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar said his side was certainly wary of Foley, who has found some of his best games in Cardiff over his career, and the impact of Genia as his halves partner.

“His record speaks for itself. He is an excellent player. He has success against us in the past, he has always seemed to have played well in Cardiff in particular,” he said.

“He is going to bring the experience of all those Tests he has played.

“I think his partnership with Genia is a key thing.

“They have played a lot of rugby together. He is an absolutely superb player, ball in hand he is as good as anyone.

“ It is up to us to try to put as much pressure on him as possible and hopefully a few errors will creep into his game.

“ I’m sure they will be saying the same about us.

“He is a superb player and he probably doesn’t me telling him what his record is and how good a player he is. I’m sure his experience is a factor in why he has been brought in.”

Foley and Genia were two of four changes to Australia’s backline for Sunday’s clash with Wales, with Dane Haylett-Petty comin

Haylett-Petty’s promotion over Kurtley Beale has been interpreted as a way to shore up Australia’s performance under the high ball and it’s a threat of which Biggar said Wales were acutely aware.

“We won’t be looking to change much in our approach in that we are going to try to be as solid as we can,” he said.

“Haylett-Petty is very good aerially so we are aware that he is going to be pretty strong in that area.

“For us it is about making sure we do everything ourselves, getting our set-piece, our defence, our kicking game in order.”.

Australia and Wales have a decade-long history of incredibly tight matches, all bar one going the Wallabies’ way since 2009 and it is expected that the margins will be narrow again on Sunday.

The Welsh 10 said Australia’s win over Fiji revealed their set piece threat and proved a timely reminder that Wales would need to draw on plenty of grit against one of their biggest rivals, Biggar said.

“For all the fancy rugby and fabulous players they’ve got they went back to the set-piece which probably won it for them in the end,” he said.

“ They showed some really good character. The star-studded Fijian side were on a roll after the interception – they looked like they’d pull away, but fair play to Australia they showed some real guts and kept the ball tight, basic stuff, got their way back into the game and finished strong.

“That’s going to be something we’ll have to improve on – discipline and not allowing Australia to get momentum in our 22 and get that rolling maul going.

“They were excellent in the way they came back, they would admit themselves that they would have been disappointed in the way they started the game but as you always expect with an Australian side they have that “never give in” attitude.

“They will make you scrap for absolutely everything.”