Wales v Australia: Robin McBryde hopes for Wales pitch boost

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Australia's winning streak against Wales will be "irrelevant" when they meet on Saturday says Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
Autumn international: Wales v Australia
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 8 November 2014 Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV

Forwards coach Robin McBryde hopes a "firmer" new Millennium Stadium pitch can boost Wales' attack and scrum against Australia on Saturday.

It will be the first Test played on the semi-artificial turf, which was installed after years of problems.

"It's a lot firmer. It's conducive to running rugby and scrummaging," said ex-Wales hooker McBryde.

The Welsh Rugby Union had sold around 55,000 tickets by Friday lunchtime for the 74,500 capacity ground.

Australia have won their last nine matches against Wales and the Wallabies have scored more tries than their opponents in six of those victories.

McBryde expects the Wallabies to be as dangerous as ever under new head coach Michael Cheika, but warned that his side will also pose a significant threat under a closed roof for the game.

Wales' George North: Tries, hits and 'force'

"Their players are playing with that freedom and licence to play, which suits the Australians," said McBryde.

"We've got to be water-tight defensively, put them under a bit of pressure.

"We're no different to the Australians with regards to the messages we are feeding to our players.

"We've not got a bad set of backs ourselves. It's giving them the confidence to go out there and try things."

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said he has been criticised for "stubborn" selections in the past and McBryde is eager to dispel the apparent notion that Wales are a pragmatic side.

"There's a lot of negativity with regards to the way we're perceived to play the game," he said.

Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde on the scrum v Australia
"We've got to make sure we go about our work there legally, make the referee's work as easy as possible, but make it contested so the Australians don't forget we are here to win the game."

"The players are under no illusions - if the pass is on, you've got to give it.

"Players might feed off that freedom and have the confidence to try things.

"We've made reference to the way we played against Ireland [in 2012] when George North made that pass out of the back of his hand [for Jonathan Davies's try].

"Little flashes like that can change the game. That's in us as Welsh rugby players and we can't lose that spark."

As well as providing the backline with a firmer footing, McBryde also hopes to see some scrummaging gains.

Wales field a front row of Paul James, Richard Hibbard and Samson Lee in what appears to be an attempt to strengthen the set-piece.

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Sport Wales presenter Dot Davies went to the Wales team hotel to gauge the mood ahead of Australia clash

"If we can do that, it will help the cause," said McBryde.

"But by no means are Australia a walkover at scrum time.

"They possess many strengths and their scrum has held up pretty well in the Rugby Championship. Argentina really tested them out in that area.

"It's going to be a contested area. We've got to make sure we go about our work there legally, make the referee's work as easy as possible, but make it contested so the Australians don't forget we are here to win the game."

TEAM

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Paul James (Bath), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Unattached), Sam Warburton (Capt), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (London Wasps), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues).

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