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Tourists at pains to contain Kurtley


Greg Growden

"High kicks and a swarming Welsh defence any time Beale is near the ball is inevitable".

"High kicks and a swarming Welsh defence any time Beale is near the ball is inevitable". Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

WALES believe they know the secret to stifling Wallabies halfback Will Genia. Now they must work out how to contain Kurtley Beale in the third Test at Allianz Stadium tomorrow.

While the lead-up to the second Test in Melbourne centred on how the Welsh would keep Genia in check after his man-of-the-match performance in Brisbane, the visitors realise they must now limit Beale's ability to dominate the final international of the series.

Wales caretaker coach Rob Howley described yesterday Beale's recall to the Wallabies line-up at fullback as ''a red alert for us.''

But that did not mean Howley and his players had given up on containing Beale. Instead, they believed that by applying the same level of pressure on him as they did on Genia in Melbourne it could work, especially as the returning Test player is short of match form. High kicks and a swarming Welsh defence any time Beale is near the ball is inevitable.

While dejected they have lost the series after tight losses in Brisbane and Melbourne, the Welsh, as they have done all tour, talked themselves up yesterday, arguing how crucial it was to return to Cardiff next week with some reward from the tour. It revolves around keeping Genia, David Pocock and now Beale in check.

''Kurtley's ability to beat a man makes him a world-class player and he is very potent around the ruck area,'' Howley said.

''We did a job on Will Genia on the weekend, and that resulted from our work at the contact area, in particular slowing down the Australian ball. That will be equally important on Saturday. Kurtley does give us another problem to deal with, but I'm sure we're up to that.''

Wales captain and openside breakaway Sam Warburton, while an enormous admirer of Pocock's abilities, believes his team is starting to devise ways to keep his opposing skipper in some sort of check.

''We did much better as a team against Pocock in Melbourne,'' Warburton said yesterday.

''If you can get him down to just three turnovers then that's quite a good job. Once it starts getting over that number then you've done a poor job. I think he is probably the most difficult to play against at the breakdown. I've found that. But as a squad we've got better each game in countering him. Hopefully that will continue on Saturday, and we also do a similar job on Will Genia.''

But in the end, according to Howley, it revolves around how long you've got the ball. He said improvement was needed at lineout time.

''When you're playing against southern hemisphere sides, Australia in particular, you have to look at the possession statistics. If we are able to remain composed and accurate at lineout time, then the possession stats change. But when it's 70 per cent to them and 30 to us, it means we have to defend admirably well.'' he said.

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