Jones pinpoints Thomas threat

By Graeme Mair.   Last Updated: 23/11/05 4:15pm

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Australia coach Eddie Jones is wary of the threat posed by Wales captain Gareth Thomas at the Milennium Stadium this Saturday.

The Wallabies ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Ireland 30-14 last weekend and Jones is keen to build on this upsurge in form.

Jones has identified Thomas - back at full back this weekend - as the major threat to his side.

"Thomas is an inspirational player for Wales, and they generally play off the back of one of his runs," said Jones.

"Thomas has been improving as a player over the last three years and if he is not the most improved player in the world he is certainly close to it.

"And through the likes of Thomas Wales' phase play is their threat. When Wales get a roll on through a Thomas run or a (Shane) Williams run, and are able to get the defence a little bit jagged, then they are very good at turning those opportunities into tries.

"If you look at the Six Nations it was that sort of play that was the difference between them winning the competition and not winning the competition.

"They are a very opportunistic side with a good level of skill particularly in phase play."

Whilst acknowledging the attacking threat posed by the Wales back division, Jones is hoping that young winger Drew Mitchell will provide Australia with a cutting edge.

"Drew has always had something and he's always had that something different," added Jones.

"He has just got that ability to sniff a try. Drew just has that unique bit of talent. He has still got some way to go in terms of his development but he has got that ability to score tries."