Jump to main content
Preview: Wales v Australia

Preview: Wales v Australia

Wales winger Josh Adams

Wales and Australia will lock horns for the first time in just over two years on Saturday evening both teams bid to end their Autumn Nations Series campaigns on a high.

Not since they collided in the pool stages of the 2019 Rugby World Cup have these two sides come face to face, with that contest ending in a narrow 29-25 win to Wales.

In fact, Wales have triumphed in their last two Tests against the Wallabies – also winning 9-6 in Cardiff back in 2018 – having previously lost 13 on the bounce against them.

Wayne Pivac’s side got back on track last time out after successive defeats against New Zealand and South Africa with a hard-fought 38-23 win over Fiji at Principality Stadium.

Meanwhile, Australia suffered a second straight defeat on their European tour, going down 32-15 to England after losing their Autumn Nations Series opener to Scotland.

The Wallabies have now lost nine of their last 13 men’s Tests against European opposition but Dave Rennie’s side will be determined to return back Down Under with a victory.

TEAM NEWS

Ellis Jenkins will lead out Wales once again against Australia, forming a back row with Taine Basham and the returning Aaron Wainwright, who slots in at No.8.

Google Ad – 300×250

Seb Davies gets his first start of the campaign alongside Adam Beard while Ryan Elias has new props either side of him as Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis come into the Welsh tight five.

Slipper leads Wallabies in Cardiff

There are also changes in the backs where Tomos Williams returns to partner Dan Biggar in the half-backs and Uilisi Halaholo starts in the centres alongside Nick Tompkins.

Josh Adams, a late withdrawal against Fiji, is back on the wing, with Player of the Match Liam Williams and try-scorer Louis Rees-Zammit joining him in the back three.

Liam Williams

Australia will have to make do without injured skipper Michael Hooper for their trip to Cardiff, with James Slipper captaining the Wallabies for the first time in his absence.

Slipper returns to his more familiar position of loosehead prop, having had to switch to tighthead last week due to injuries, with Taniela Tupou back fit to start the other side of hooker Tolu Latu.

Pete Samu replaces Hooper in the back row and the only change to the backline sees Filipo Daugunu make his first appearance of the tour on the left wing in place of Tom Wright.

WHAT THEY SAID

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: “It’s been a tough campaign but one where we’ve exposed more players to this level of rugby, which all bodes well for the future.

“With the injuries we’ve faced, we have had to adapt and those are opportunities that some of the players have taken very well. Australia have been on the road for a while now, the series they had down South and a couple of losses in the last couple of games.

“They’ll be hurting from that and they’ll want to finish their tour on a high note, as we’d like to finish our campaign on a high note. It bodes well for a pretty interesting fixture.

Wayne Pivac

“Dave Rennie brings a physical approach to the game and we certainly expect that from the Australians but we have to be able to match that and impose ourselves on the game.”

Australia head coach Dave Rennie said: “We’ve made some great shifts this year, but we’ve been disappointed with our performances in the last two Tests and we’ll be looking to ensure we finish the year on a positive note against Wales on Saturday night.”

KEY BATTLE – Andrew Kellaway v Louis Rees-Zammit

There are endless fascinating plot lines when looking at the match-ups for this one.

With both teams making several changes to their front rows, the battle between the tight five will no doubt be a huge factor in terms of which team prevails in Cardiff on Saturday.

Andrew Kellaway runs in a try

But it’s hard not to be excited by the potential fireworks we could see from two of rugby’s most talented young stars as Andrew Kellaway and Louis Rees-Zammit take to the field.

Fresh from both being nominated for World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year award, the stage is set for an epic battle between the two prolific wingers on the pitch.

MATCHDAY SQUADS

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Uilisi Halaholo, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Adam Beard, 5 Seb Davies, 6 Ellis Jenkins (captain), 7 Taine Basham, 8 Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Christ Tshiunza, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Johnny McNicholl

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Nic Wright; 1 James Slipper (c), 2 Tolu Latu, 3 Taniela Tupou, 4 Rory Arnold, 5 Izack Rodda, 6 Rob Leota, 7 Pete Samu, 8 Rob Valetini

Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Lachlan Swinton, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Tom Wright

Previous Story Ryan to skipper Ireland as McGrath called up
Next Story Ntamack back at fly-half for France against All Blacks

More News

Preview: Wales v Australia

Super Springboks and awesome Australia star in Rugby Championship

2 days ago
Preview: Wales v Australia

Southern Hemisphere giants gear up for Rugby Championship return

4th Aug 2022
Ardie Savea summer

Standout players from the summer who have stepped up ahead...

19th Jul 2022