Howley demands streetwise Wales approach

PA Sport
Rob Howley wants Wales to be better at the breakdown on Tuesday
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Rob Howley wants Wales to be better at the breakdown on Tuesday

Caretaker Wales coach Rob Howley will ask his players to be "more streetwise" at the breakdown when they face the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday night.

Having seen his Test team undone at the tackle area by the Wallabies back row in Brisbane last weekend, Howley wants to use the midweek game in the Australian capital as the starting point for a fight back on the floor.

"We have to be more streetwise and adaptable. You have to play to the referee's strengths," said Howley. "We weren't streetwise enough in the contact area in the first Test and that is something we are looking at this week. The contact area is the most important area in the game because of turnovers at the tackle area."

He continued: "We weren't as efficient as we should have been in our support systems and we weren't as effective in removing the threats as we should have been. That's something we have to address."

The Brumbies have been the surprise package in Super Rugby this season and are the leading Australian side. But coach Jake White is missing eight players on international duty and has selected a relatively inexperienced side.

Wales have lost twice to the Brumbies in the past and Howley knows all about the potential firepower contained within their ranks after playing in a 69-30 defeat in 1996.

"They had a pretty potent back line in 1996 and beat us with 60-odd points. This season they have been a surprise package in the Super 15," said Howley, who scored two tries in the game 16 years ago.

"They kick a lot and go to the air a lot, so our back three will have to work hard. But this is an opportunity for these players to play in the national jersey and push their claims for Test places.

"On a lot of tours the midweek side becomes very important in terms of attitude and this group were out training a 9am the morning after the first Test. Some of the boys are backing up, but we are confident in our fitness and where we are with this team because they had a game against the Barbarians.

"Competition for places has been a big ingredient in our performances of late and we have a good blend of experience with youth in the side."

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