Rugby World Cup 2015: Warren Gatland hands Wales licence to attack Australia in Pool A decider

 
Ross McLean
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Gatland has his sights on Wales finishing top of their group (Source: Getty)

England's World Cup demise at the hands of Australia has given Wales the licence to attack the Wallabies in their Pool A decider at Twickenham on Saturday, according to fitness coach Paul Stridgeon.

The winners will face either Scotland or Japan in the quarter-final, while the losers will face two-time world champions South Africa, who secured top spot in Pool B by thrashing the United States last night.

“England losing at the weekend took a bit of pressure off us, but our goal has always been to top the group,” said Stridgeon.

“Warren [Gatland] has placed a lot of emphasis on this, but he has given the boys a bit of freedom and told them they can go out and play a bit this week.”

Wales have suffered 10 successive defeats against Australia but are set to enter the clash with a fully fit squad, with full-back Liam Williams and prop Paul James nearing a return after suffering concussion and a calf problem respectively.

Gatland’s initial 31-man squad has been decimated by injury, both before and during the tournament, with Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Webb, Scott Williams, Hallam Amos and Cory Allen all sidelined.

“We are fully fit. We have got a couple of bumps and bruises, but generally we are good to go,” added Stirdgeon. “We managed to give them a couple of days off after the Fiji game, so they come into this game a bit fresher.”

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