Australia full-back Kurtley Beale is braced for another titanic tussle when the Wallabies meet World Cup rivals Wales on Sunday.
The winners at Tokyo Stadium will put a foot in the quarter-finals, especially after unheralded Uruguay’s stunning Pool D victory over Fiji on Wednesday.
Although Australia have won 13 of the last 14 Tests against Wales, many of those victories were by narrow margins.
Wales ended a long losing run at Australia’s hands by beating them 9-6 when the sides last met during the 2018 autumn internationals.
“As a player, you always look forward to playing Wales,” Beale said.
“As nations, we bring the best out of each other. They are always great contests, and we’ve got a lot of respect for each other.
“No difference this week. We know they have come off a flying start (Wales beat Georgia 43-14 in their opening game). We are well aware of their threats.”
While Wales saw off Georgia, Australia were given a tough examination by Fiji before emerging victorious, setting up an eagerly-awaited encounter between two world rugby heavyweights.
“I feel like their (Wales’) defence has gone up another level,” Beale added.
“Over the tournament, all teams are focusing on their defence, so it’s going to be a little bit harder to crack.
“It places more importance on holding on to the ball, building pressure that way and hopefully matching them with fitness.