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'We need wins': What's 'driving' the Wallabies before Wales clash

By Finn Morton
Jed Holloway. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Wallabies have shown plenty of promise and potential this year, but an inability to close out some tight Test matches this month has cost the men in gold.

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Australia started their five match spring tour with a thrilling one-point win over Scotland at Murrayfield, after flyhalf Blair Kinghorn missed a last-minute penalty attempt.

But the Wallabies were on the wrong side of one-point results in each of their next two Tests against France and Italy, before losing to World No. 1 Ireland by three-points.

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Now staring down the barrel of what could possibly be their fourth straight loss, the Wallabies are focused on ending their season with a victory.

Star flanker Jed Holloway said the Wallabies are motivated to “put in a good performance” against familiar foes Wales in Cardiff this weekend.

“We need wins and we’re so close so I think that’s what’s driving the boys to finish this tour off the way we want to,” Holloway told media this week.

“It’s been well documented the disappointments over the French week, obviously Italy is a big one and then on the weekend.

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“But (what) we know as a group is we’re right there and we’re making the right steps, we’re taking the right steps to put in a good performance.

“Really striving for that is what’s driving us and motivating us for this week.”

But the Wallabies will be without some of their big name players for this crunch clash at the Principality Stadium, with a number of players having been ruled out of the Test.

Former Test captain Michael Hooper is set to return home on Thursday after presenting concussion symptoms during the week, while prop Taniela Tupou is facing a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

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Centre Hunter Paisami and playmaker Nic White and also among the list of players who have been made unavailable for this weekend’s crunch clash.

“I think we speak for the whole group, we’re gutted for any guy we lose,” Holloway added.

“Taniela (Tupou) in particular, he’s had a fair run of injuries this year and he’s genuinely put in the hard yards to try and get himself best available and to find that form which he’s known for.

“To see him go down the way he did on the weekend was pretty gut wrenching but look, our medical staff are doing everything they can to get the boys ready.

“We’ve just had a rough trot but as a squad we need to lick our wounds and go again because we’ve got another big Test match this weekend at Principality.

“What those injuries bring is a huge amount of opportunity for guys coming in. Those guys need to take that opportunity and we need to get a result as a team.”

This might just be the Wallabies’ most important Test match of the year.

Forget about the rivalries with the All Blacks and Springboks, the match against Wales will be a key marker for how the team is tracking before the Rugby World Cup.

Australia, Wales and Fiji and set to battle it out in pool play at next year’s World Cup in France, exactly like they did three years ago in Japan.

While the Wallabies have traditionally found a way to beat Wales, even when form hasn’t necessarily been in their favour, they’ll certainly have a point to prove this weekend – as will Wales.

Wales are coming off a disappointing loss at home against Georgia, so they’ll undoubtedly be hungry to bounce back ahead of the Six Nations early next year.

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