Gough handed chance to impress

Ian Gough is ready to help Wales destroy Australia's hopes of completing a European clean sweep. [more]

Gough handed chance to impress

Ian Gough is ready to help Wales destroy Australia’s hopes of completing a European clean sweep.

Lock Gough has been handed another chance to boost his Lions credentials after Ian Evans was ruled out for the season.

Now he aims to mark his return by denting the Wallabies’ unbeaten autumn run which has included impressive wins over England, France and Italy.

Gough, 32, said: "It’s never nice to be dropped. But it’s great to have an opportunity to put my name back on the map.

“It’s a horrible part of professional sport. Ian was in agony but rugby is a tough existence."

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Gough knows the harsh reality only too well after being axed for the crunch clashes with South Africa and New Zealand earlier this month.

The Ospreys ace played a pivotal role during his country’s Grand Slam success in March before falling behind Evans in the pecking order.

Now Lions and Wales coach Warren Gatland wants the 55-cap star to rediscover his form and help Wales round off their Autumn series in style with a famous victory.

"We are looking for a big performance from Ian," said Gatland. "We made a big deal of him last year and he epitomised what the team was about. He was unselfish, hard working and honest.

"This year, we felt he has been off the pace and not as fresh or sharp as last year. But he’s an experienced player and he will be vital for us."

While Gough’s inclusion was a forced decision, Gatland has dropped teenage sensation Leigh Halfpenny from his 22.

The Cardiff Blues wing lit up the Test arena with two tries in three games but Gatland has favoured the experience of Mark Jones for Saturday’s match at the Millennium Stadium.

"We have been pleased with Leigh’s performances but he’s only 19 and we want to look after him. Now we want Mark to perform, " added Gatland.

Wales: Lee Byrne; Mark Jones, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams; Stephen Jones, Gareth Cooper; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Ian Gough, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Martyn Williams, Andy Powell

Replacements: Richard Hibbard, John Yapp, Luke Charteris, Duncan Jones, Martin Roberts, James Hook, Andrew Bishop

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