Wales will be up for it, warns Wallaby Higginbotham
CARDIFF, United Kingdom (AFP) –
Wallabies’ enforcer Scott Higginbotham has warned that Wales will be “right up for it” in their bid to end a disastrous autumn international series on a high.
Wales slumped to losses to Argentina (26-12) and Samoa (26-19) before going down 33-10 to a completely dominant New Zealand side last weekend, meaning the Australia game is a must-win for them should they want a top-eight seeding for Monday’s draw for the 2015 World Cup.
But Higginbotham, back in the Australia set-up after serving a two-match ban for kneeing and head-butting All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, warned: “They’ll be right up for it, especially after that game against the All Blacks.
“But we’re here to get the job done as well.”
Australia have rebounded from a 33-6 defeat by France to wins over England (20-14) and Italy (22-19), and Higginbotham said his team’s familiarity with the Welsh side meant there’d be no surprises come Saturday.
“I’ve played the majority of my Tests against Wales. They are a tough side to play and they play a similar brand of football to the southern hemisphere game,” the flanker said.
“It’s very quick and they attack the opposition breakdown out wide and in close.”
Higginbotham added: “They are a very physical team and that’s the type of team I like to play against.
“It was a bit disappointing to see them go down to sides that I thought they’d win against recently.
“Just because a team is off form doesn’t mean they can’t change that in a week. Our boys did that from the French to the English game and we won’t be taking them lightly.”
Wales, however, are on a six-match losing streak, started when they lost a three-Test series to the Wallabies in the summer.
“They were close games and we got up on them in all three of them and I’m sure they’ll want a bit of payback,” Higginbotham said.
“It’s tough playing a series like that where it’s the same team three weeks straight. You get a lot of time to watch each other’s game and by the time you get to that second match it’s always going to be a close score because you do know each other so well.
“You can come pretty close to predicting what a team is going to do.”
Winger Drew Mitchell, with an impressive try-scoring record of 30 in 62 international appearances, said the Wallabies would be taking the pitch at the Millennium Stadium “absolutely ready to rip into Wales”.
“We want to finish this tour on a positive note and do everything we can to win our final Test of the year.
“We’re looking to finish with a bang, there’s no next week for us.”