Howley welcomes competitive Tests

Wed, 13 Jun 15:46:54 2012

Caretaker coach Rob Howley believes high-profile matches in the Southern Hemisphere are the best way nations like Wales can improve.

Australia were 27-19 winners in last weekend's first Test in Brisbane, but Howley's midweek team registered a morale-boosting 25-15 success in their tour match against Super Rugby franchise Brumbies on Tuesday.

The second Test follows in Melbourne on Saturday, and Howley said: "The Wallabies will be a strong, world-class, competitive outfit. They are number two in the world. We are always looking up at the upper echelons of the world rankings and we want to be there. You only get better by playing New Zealand, Australia and South Africa."

He added: "The more we play against the Australians the better we will become. It is a great opportunity on Saturday to play in another game of that intensity. Your decisions get questioned from the first to the 80th minute and that's where we need to get better."

As for the short preparation time he will have with his charges once they arrive in Melbourne, he was unruffled.

"We have two and a half sessions to get ready. That's life in Test rugby - Australia had it last week and we have it this week," he said.

Howley was also buoyed to see the midweek side showing signs of getting to grips with the different interpretations at the breakdown and tackle areas which caused them so many problems for the senior side in Brisbane.

"We made better decisions at the breakdown and we were able to close down the area between the ball carrier and support player much more easily," he said.

"That gave us quicker and better ball at the contact area."


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