Winning with style is Ruddock’s aim

Wales boss Mike Ruddock will not abandon his attacking principles for next week's clash with Australia despite the temptation of setting his powerful forward pack loose on the Wallabies. [more]

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Wales boss Mike Ruddock will not abandon his attacking principles for next week’s clash with Australia despite the temptation of setting his powerful forward pack loose on the Wallabies.

England demolished the Australian scrum at Twickenham nine days ago as they bulldozed their way to victory.

Wales proved against South Africa on Saturday they have the forward power to adopt a similar game-plan.

The Springboks are the most physical side in world rugby – yet their scrum was put under so much pressure that coach Jake White was forced into a front-row change after only 36 minutes when veteran Os du Randt replaced Lawrence Sephaka.

But Ruddock is convinced Wales’ best interests – in both the short and long term – will be served by sticking to the high-tempo game-plan that brought them such success last year.

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"When I took over with Wales our scrum was creaking but we have quite a significant scrum at the moment," said Ruddock.

"I spoke to Jake White after the game on Saturday and asked his advice on playing Australia. I was not surprised when he said we should take them on in the forwards.

"But as much as we are pleased with the forwards’ performance, we believe our strength is when the forwards take their places in the attacking line.

"That way we can outnumber their defence. As much as we want to take them on in the forwards – and we will pressurise them there – we want the option of moving the ball around the park.

"I do not think we will be successful just trying to bludgeon our way to a victory. We want to get it to the backs and try and play through the phases, which was our trademark last year."

Wales are still some way off the slick attacking machine that electrified the RBS 6 Nations last year.

They scored 17 tries in five matches to win the Grand Slam – but this autumn Ruddock’s men have managed just two in three games, both of them coming when their opponents have been reduced to 14 men.

Ruddock admitted his side’s lack of penetration is a major concern but he is confident that with another week together the precision will return for next Saturday’s clash with the Wallabies.

"It was a great win by Australia against Ireland and we will have to improve considerably," said Ruddock.

"We are putting in plenty of effort but we are making too many errors that were not there last year and to beat these teams you have to play a perfect game.

"Our intent is there and we just have to keep on working on our play so the accuracy is there too.

"We have not moved away from our game-plan. We still want the players to have a licence to thrill and we try to take a creative approach but we need to be more cohesive."

Wales are convinced that will come. Their camp has been disrupted by a host of injuries, the introduction of new faces and the need to release players for club duty ahead of the Fiji game 10 days ago.

But centre Ceri Sweeney noted a discernible shift in mood and momentum leading into the South Africa game and is confident Wales will build on that and give Australia a tough examination.

"For the previous two weeks training has not really been as good as it should have been. We have been a bit off the mark," said Sweeney.

"But last week was a lot better and that showed on the pitch as well. We want to get another good week’s training in and get things buzzing again.

"Australia are a quality side. They have a lot of youngsters coming through and I would not be surprised if in two years’ time they are challenging for the World Cup.

"It is important to end on a high note because we are into the Six Nations then."

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