Planet Rugby

Wales in better shape - Lydiate

02nd December 2013 05:40

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Dan Lydiate Wales v France 2012

Stronger: Dan Lydiate

Wales flanker Dan Lydiate believes the national side are in better shape than one year ago despite another defeat to Australia.

Australia stretched their run over Wales to nine consecutive wins last weekend, after two penalties from Christian Leali'ifano and a try from Joe Tomane in the second half left Wales chasing the game.

Wales were however without key players including Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies and Adam Jones. With younger players coming through to fill the gaps and build experience, Lydiate believes Wales will be stronger moving forward.

"It is better than last November. We have picked up a lot of injuries during this campaign, and some young players have come in and have done themselves justice," said Lydiate.

"That bodes well for the future, and although we lost against Australia we can move on again and come back for the Six Nations and be ready to go."

Lydiate highlighted the intense speed of the Wallabies' play that kept Wales grafting in defence throughout Saturday's loss, whilst also praising the performance of Australia number ten Quade Cooper.

"It was a classic Test match that could have gone either way at the end. We are gutted," added Lydiate.

"Looking after the ball and making correct decisions at the right time is not something we managed to do.

"We have been in this situation so many times, which is so disappointing, but it shows great spirit to keep playing for 80 minutes. I know we keep saying it, but we are not far off.

"The speed of ball is just so quick. You think there is a ruck there and it will be slow ball, but as soon as you make a tackle you just see the ball flying out and at times it is really hard to defend against.

"It is so hard to defend against someone like (Wallabies fly-half) Quade Cooper because you don't know if he is going to pass, or when you think he will take it into contact, he pulls the pass out the back of the hand.

"These are the best players in the world, so you can't give them any sort of chance because they will punish you.

"When we played against the Reds for the Lions, he was real quality for them. I remember saying at the time I thought he would be back in the squad by the end of the Lions tour, but that did not happen.

"They do miss a quality player like him, and it shows what he can do when he plays."

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