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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 13:01 GMT
Laws of the jungle
By Sean Davies
BBC Sport

Lions legend Graham Price says that Wales need a mixed game plan if they are to be successful against Australia and the top teams in world rugby.

Wales and Lions legend Graham Price
Australia improved their scrum for the game in Dublin, but Ireland are not great in that area either
Graham Price
Wales coach Mike Ruddock has been advised to target the suspect Wallaby scrum, but former tight-head prop Price says it is not that simple.

"A lot is going to depend on the tactics Wales employ," said Price, a member of the legendary Pontypool and Wales front row alongside Bobby Windsor and Charlie Faulkner.

"Our forward statistics were good in the loss to South Africa, but those figures don't always tell the full story.

"We won a lot of ball, but it was slowed down by the opposition.

"Obviously we need to improve on our set piece, including the scrum, if we're going to compete against the top sides.

"Australia certainly improved their scrum for the game in Dublin last week, but it should be remembered that Ireland are not great in that area, either.

"The way Wales played last season was to move the game away from our weaknesses and make the most of our talents, but the basics have to be improved.

"The sort of attacking play that took us to the Grand Slam we only saw in the last 10 or 15 minutes against South Africa when it looked like catch-up rugby."

Price, who won 41 Wales caps and 12 for the Lions, believes that Ruddock was right to stick with the same pack from the Springbok game.

Wales tight-head Chris Horsman
I can understand Chris Horsman's punch, you have to stick up for yourself as a forward
Graham Price
That is despite tight-head Chris Horsman's sin-binning for a blatant punch in the game, an indiscretion that led to a direct, public rebuke from Ruddock.

"The scrum and forward effort against South Africa was much improved and they deserved a second chance against Australia," said Price, who was born in Moascar in Egypt.

"Chris Horsman has steadied the scrum and his arrival in the Wales squad this autumn could force [fellow tight-head] Adam Jones to take it on another level.

"He [Horsman] got into trouble for his punch and yellow card at a crucial time against South Africa.

"But I can understand it, you have to stick up for yourself as a forward, especially in the front row - if you let the opposition mess you around then they'll get away with murder.

"In my day we were always told to just make sure you don't get caught, but it's more difficult these days with all the cameras and linesmen.

"As a youngster at Pontypool I found it was the law of the jungle and you often had to take matters into your own hands, you have to learn the hard way and stand up for yourself.

"With his comments about Horsman I can see that Mike [Ruddock] was trying to get the right message across, but maybe he said something else in private."

Price's laissez faire views on the policing of front-row forwards are backed by his reaction to his own painful experiences against Australia.

Price had his jaw broken by Steve Finnane in 1978
I don't think that he [Steve Finnane] set out to do the damage he did, he was just trying to intimidate me
Graham Price on Australia v Wales 1978
He can boast two wins over the Wallabies in a Wales shirt, in Cardiff in 1975 and 1981 - the latter Wales' last home victory over Australia.

But his Wales team suffered two Test defeats on a tour down under in 1978 - and, in the second in Sydney, Price's jaw was broken by a sickening punch from behind by opposing loose-head Steve Finnane.

"I still get asked about that incident so often, especially every time Wales play Australia," said Price.

"It was very early in the game, before we'd really got warmed up, and I got caught by the shot.

"I don't think that he [Finnane] set out to do the damage he did, he was just trying to intimidate me.

"But he caught me coming out of a scrum with my jaw at its most vulnerable - open and gasping for air - and the photos obviously went around the world."




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