(Reuters) – Beleaguered Australia are hoping a week’s training camp in Japan has fixed persistent problems in their forward play, not least at lineout time, experienced flanker David Pocock said on Tuesday.
Australia start a three-test tour of Europe with a game against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, looking to continue a dominant run against their hosts and turn around a miserable run of results which has left coach Michael Cheika and his players under severe pressure.
After being beaten 37-20 by world champions New Zealand in the Bledisloe Cup in Yokohama last month, the Wallabies stayed in Japan for a training week during which lineout work was a high priority.
“We’ve got to be getting better quality ball to our halfbacks,” Pocock told reporters.
“That’s something we’re working on – we know how important it is and as a forward pack, we had a good chance last week in Odawara to put some work into that and we’ll continue that here.”
The 30-year-old Pocock, who has 75 caps, missed the Wallabies’ last tour to Europe, taking a sabbatical from the game, but warned Wales would be tough to beat, even if Australia have won the last 13 meetings between the sides.
“They’re a talented side and they’re one of those teams that have got a really good mix between forwards and backs,” he said.
“They’re able to rumble up through the forwards and also got some pretty dangerous backs out wide, so I guess you’re going into the game and you know set piece and defence is going to be important.”
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson, Editing by Ed Osmond)