Sunday 18 February 2018

Warburton targets Pocock as Wales look to end series on high

Wales skipper Sam Warburton believes keeping David Pocock quiet will be crucial as his side seek a winning end to their series against Australia.

Warburton has fought a running battle with his rival flanker in two closely fought Tests, with Wales only denied a first win since 1969 over the Wallabies in Australia by Mike Harris' penalty after the hooter last week.

"We did much better against (Pocock) as a team in Melbourne and we know that if we can keep him down to three turnovers per game we are doing a good job," said Warburton.

"We also did a good job containing Will Genia in Melbourne and we just need to carry on that good work."

Another factor will be the need to improve the possession statistics, after the hosts enjoyed almost 70pc of the ball in Melbourne.

Caretaker coach Rob Howley said: "When you play against southern hemisphere sides, and Australia in particular, possession statistics are vital. If you are defending for 70pc of the game it takes its toll."

Australia -- K Beale; A Ashley-Cooper, R Horne, P McCabe, D Ioane; B Barnes, W Genia; B Robinson, T Polota-Nau, S Kepu, N Sharpe, S Timani, S Higginbotham, D Pocock (captain), W Palu. Reps: S Moore, B Alexander, R Simmons, D Dennis, M Hooper, N White, A Fainga'a.

Wales -- L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert, J Davies, A Beck, G North; R Priestland, M Phillips; G Jenkins, M Rees, A Jones, B Davies, AW Jones, D Lydiate, S Warburton (captain), R Jones. Reps: K Owens, P James, L Charteris, R Webb, J Hook, S Williams.

Ref -- C Joubert (South Africa).

Australia v Wales,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 6am

Irish Independent

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