AAP Rugby

Gatland desperate to end Wallabies run

By AAP Newswire

Wales coach Warren Gatland says his side's confidence will receive a huge boost if they can end their run of 13 straight defeats to Australia in Cardiff on Saturday (Sunday 0420 AEDT).

It's been 10 years since the Welsh last beat the Wallabies, but despite that dismal record, local bookmakers have the hosts as slight favourites to beat Michael Cheika's side.

Six straight wins have catapulted the Welsh to third in the world rankings - three spots above the Wallabies - and Gatland said his players are desperate to end that unwanted record before the side's meet again in Tokyo at next year's World Cup.

"We should have beaten Australia on a number of occasions over the recent years and haven't managed to do it and we want to put that ledger right," Gatland said.

"We are disappointed with the run of losses we've had against them.

"But if you look at how close a lot of those games have been, I think there's been something like seven points, the difference between us and them on average over that period.

"This game is important for the next 12 months. It is not the most important, the pool game at the World Cup (next year) is going to be the most important one.

"This will definitely be important from a confidence point of view, and yes, it's been well-documented that they are under different sorts of pressures than we are, but the pressure for us is being favourites and being able to handle it."

The Wallabies' line-out has struggled in recent weeks but Gatland said he expects much improved set-pieces from the tourists after struggling against New Zealand last month.

"The lineout stuff goes in cycles," he said.

"Certain teams dominate and get up in the air and then you see other teams sort of fix that.

"We are reasonably happy with the way our attacking lineout was. We weren't great defensively last week against Scotland so we have focused on that.

"Australia have been strong defensively and have big men in the second row and we have to work their tight five as hard as we can.

"We think if we keep the ball in play time we can maybe take advantage of that."