Michael Cheika says that Australia’s record against Wales “goes out of the window” prior to their latest meeting.

The Wallabies have not lost to Wales since 2008, winning 12 successive games, including seven victories in Cardiff.

And Australia will arrive at the Principality Stadium on Saturday just three weeks after beating world champions New Zealand.

Wales have not won their opening game of an autumn series since 2002, but Wallabies head coach Cheika has played down Australia’s successful run.

“Warren Gatland (Wales head coach) has had an unbelievably good season,” Cheika told reporters in Cardiff on Thursday.

“The (British and Irish) Lions were excellent in New Zealand, and I thought they managed it really well. He is a class act, but at the end of the day it comes down to the sets of players.

“Saturday is a holiday for the coaches. It is the players’ day.

“All the other stuff like the previous record goes out of the window, because once the whistle blows it is 0-0. When the final whistle goes, someone will have more points than the other, hoping it won’t be a draw.

“The idea is that we excel in those 80 minutes, and that’s it.

“We know better than anyone how hard it is to play New Zealand three times in a year. I know the Irish guys who were out there (on the Lions tour), and he (Gatland) did a great job.

“Now it is a new challenge, and he is facing up to New Zealand later in the series. North versus south are always big matches, and we are definitely looking forward to Saturday.”

Cheika has made three changes for the Wales clash, with half-backs Bernard Foley and Will Genia both returning after missing last Saturday’s emphatic victory over Japan in Yokohama due to illness and a calf muscle problem respectively.

And there is also a start for Reece Hodge, who replaces wing Henry Speight, while Karmichael Hunt is the sole change among Australia’s replacements after overcoming a neck complaint.

“The biggest thing is our mindset – getting a winning one every moment of the game,” Cheika added. “Sometimes we get too technical, and when you are on tour in the north, mindset is everything.

“We have been working really hard to get that consistently and get away from making excuses about why something happened, just getting out there and doing it as consistently as we can.”