'Strong' bench can help Wales to first Australia win in 10 years – Gatland
|Autumn International: Wales v Australia|
|Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 10 November Kick-off: 17:20 GMT|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Two, S4C, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and app.|
Head coach Warren Gatland hopes experience off the replacements bench can help Wales beat Australia for the first time in 10 years.
Gatland has made three changes for Saturday’s game with Josh Adams, Tomas Francis and Adam Beard starting.
But the New Zealander has almost 180 caps of experience on the bench.
“It is definitely one of the strongest benches we have had for a long time, for the impact that can come off there,” he said.
“If you look at the three players in the backs – Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar and Liam Williams – there is some experience there, a couple of Lions there.
“There was definitely talk about the impact and importance of the bench in this game.”
British and Irish Lions backs Biggar and Liam Williams, plus forwards Cory Hill and Ellis Jenkins, who captained Wales on tour against South Africa and Argentina this summer, are among the replacements.
Wales have not beaten the Wallabies since 2008 – Gatland’s first year in charge.
Wales’ run of 13 successive defeats against Australia has included six losses by five points or less, while the Wallabies replacements have often had a big say in the final outcome.
“It’s being clinical in those last few minutes,” added Gatland, reflecting on Wales’ run of losses against Australia.
“We’ve gone through some of those examples in the last few years when we haven’t read a certain pressure situation, where players have occasionally given away stupid penalties, or where we haven’t defended smartly.
“We’ve gone through a number of those scenarios.
“The good thing about last week (against Scotland) was that we were under a lot of pressure at times and we showed composure when we needed to, so hopefully that transfers to this weekend.”
Gatland wants his players to show they can handle the pressure of being favourites for Saturday’s clash against Australia, whom they face again at next year’s World Cup in Japan..
Wales are on a six-match winning run against all opponents this year in contrast to Australia, who have won only three times in 10 games during 2018.
“This game is important for the next 12 months. It is not the most important, the pool game at the World Cup is going to be the most important one,” Gatland added.
“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 one thing about Australian teams is that you write them off at your peril. They are competitors in whatever sport.”