Whilst there are many dissenters who disagree that this game should be played at all, there are equally as many ignoring them. They are doing so in order so they can turn up at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday and give record breaking winger, Shane Williams a fond farewell to International rugby.
The 34 year old Ospreys winger has announced his retirement from international rugby at the end of this game after representing his country 86 times from which he scored a record 56 tries.
He will line up on the left wing with George North, having recovered from a groin injury lining up on the right. They will be two of those who faced Australia in the Bronze medal decider at the recent Rugby World Cup (RWC), but there will be a number of players from that side missing on Saturday due to contractual obligations with their clubs and of course injuries.
Nonetheless as Head Coach, Warren Gatland has pointed out the match provides an opportunity for one or two younger players to prove what they can do and also to allow the fringe players to get their chance to impress ahead of him naming the squad for the 2012 6 nations championship next month.
Gatland was delighted that he was able to announce that Sam Warburton is back in the side at number seven and will resume his highly regarded captaincy. Warburton of course was sent off during the RWC semi final for an illegal tackle against the French and was suspended for the ‘Bronze Medal’ match. He will now have his chance to play against David Pocock, who is regarded by most as the best open sided flanker in the world right now. The two will no doubt be going head to head at the breakdowns, an aspect of the modern game that could easily decide the outcome of the match
Wales of course were beaten 18-21 in that RWC match, and the chances are is that the same will happen again on Saturday. This however is only due to the fact that there are new faces in key positions for Wales and Australia have the advantage of playing a big game last week when they overwhelmed the Barbarians at Twickenham.
The very versatile James O’Connor, who was in superb kicking form last week with 20 points, will start again at outside half, while wingers, Lachie Turner and Digby Ioane, who both scored a brace of tries last week, will also be in the starting line-up.
A match that will be a very exciting running affair which should see the Wallabies edge it by the end by no more than 10 points. However, the bet of the match would be to back Shane Williams to score at least one try in his farewell match, a feat that he richly deserves.
The Teams have been announced as follows:
Adam Ashley-Cooper, Lachie Turner, Rob Horne, Berrick Barnes , Digby Ioane, James O’Connor, Will Genia, James Slipper, Tatafu Polota, Nau Salesi Ma’afu, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, Scott Higginbotham, Ben McCalman, David Pocock.
Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams; Rhys Priestland, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins, Huw Bennett, Scott Andrews, Bradley Davies, Ian Evans, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (capt), Toby Faletau.