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'Past is past' - Wallabies say wins over Wales count for nothing at World Cup

Sunday's showdown will more than likely decide the pool winner, with Kurtley Beale saying that the fact it was Wales was a positive.

Australia's prop Scott Sio carries the ball during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Australia and Fiji at the Sapporo Dome in Sapporo on 21 September 2019. Picture: AFP

TOKYO - Australia enjoy an intense rugby rivalry with Wales, but fullback Kurtley Beale insists a recent run of Wallaby wins will count for nothing when they meet in World Cup Pool D showdown on Sunday.

Since a Wales victory in 2008, Australia went on to win 13 of last 14 encounters, the most recent meeting ending in a dour 9-6 victory for the Welsh in Cardiff.

"As a player you always look forward to playing Wales," said Beale, who was part of the Australian team that beat Wales 15-6 in the pool stages at the 2015 World Cup where they went on to reach the final.

"As nations we bring the best out of each other, they're always great contests and we have a lot of respect for each other.

"They've come off a flying start, we're aware of their threats and it's another great opportunity for both teams to really go at each other and hopefully put on another great spectacle for rugby fans."

Australia opened their campaign in Japan with a 39-21 victory over Fiji while Wales notched up a 43-14 win over Georgia.

Sunday's showdown will more than likely decide the pool winner, with Beale saying that the fact it was Wales was a positive.

"For some reason, whenever we play Wales, it just brings the best out of you: the focus, the concentration, the preparation becomes more important," said the 30-year-old Waratah.

"Everyone's excited for this match, we can't wait."

Beale said there had been a lot to work on after their victory over Fiji, with an eye on Wales' strong defence.

"Their defence has gone up another level so it'll be harder," he said. "It will always go down to the wire and we're prepared for that."

'WORLD CUP IS A DIFFERENT BEAST'

Beale added: "The past is the past and the World Cup is a different beast.

"The pressures and intensity of World Cup rugby definitely come into it and it'll be the team that best copes with that."

Wallabies defence coach Nathan Grey called Wales a "very consistent team that's been peaking for a long time", pinpointing the midfield pairing of Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies as key.

"From a perspective of defending multiple phases, Wales certainly pose a significant threat problem compared to Fiji who are very, very good on turnover ball and counter-attack. It's a different prospect," Grey said.

"There's been a long history of close games between the two countries for a long period of time which is great.

"Those contests are very tight and it just shows the quality of both teams and that you have to take those opportunities when they're presented."

Grey insisted, however, that Australia were looking at the World Cup and the game against Warren Gatland's Wales team as "a stand-alone event".

Beale echoed those sentiments, saying the team's mentality was "game by game, what's important on the weekend and not looking too far ahead".

"Whichever team can execute under pressure the longest will get the result."

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