Wales take on Australia in the opening weekend of the Autumn Internationals, but what’s the history between the two teams? And who is likely to win?
These sides have met 40 times in the past and Australia have won 29 of them, with the Wallabies currently on a 12 match winning streak against the Welsh. Our model suggests that this trend will continue, but it will be a relatively close affair, with the Australians running out 25-21 victors in Cardiff on Saturday.
From their first match in 1908 (a 9-6 win to Wales in Cardiff) Wales won 8 of the first 13 and were comfortably ahead in their head to head come 1987. Since then however, they have only managed 2 wins (2005, 2008) and 1 draw (2006), all at home, from the 27 matches played between the two, with the men in gold currently on a record 12 match winning streak. Their rankings throughout history supports this run, with a widening in the teams rankings occurring in the late 80s. So is there any hope for the Welsh this time round?
Possibly. As can be seen, the rankings have closed considerably in recent years, and indeed, from 2012 7 matches have been decided by less than 1 try. In the year since their last meeting Wales have only lost 3 times and, with the majority of their squad and head coach returning from the drawn Lions tour to New Zealand, everything is looking up for Wales.
Australia have had a mixed 2016 and 2017. Losing 3 times at home to England for the first time ever in 2016, once to Scotland in 2017 and some heavy defeats to the All Blacks might lead you to believe that Wales should be the favourites. However, since these defeats the Wallabies have turned a corner, going undefeated in 7 matches and recording their first win against the All Blacks since 2015, ending a run of 7 straight defeats to the Kiwis.
All of this leads us to think that this will be the game to watch this weekend. Two closely matched teams with a lot of recent history. We stand by our prediction however, and think the Australians will prove too much for the Welsh. Just.