Wales v Australia: Josh Adams, Tomas Francis and Aaron Wainwright fit to face Wallabies


Josh Adams
Wales wing Josh Adams was the top try scorer at the 2019 World Cup with seven
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 20 November Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Live commentary BBC Radio Cymru, updates on BBC Radio Wales.

Wing Josh Adams, prop Tomas Francis and back row Aaron Wainwright have all been passed fit to start for Wales against Australia in Cardiff on Saturday.

British and Irish Lion Adams had been set to play Fiji at centre last week but withdrew late with a calf strain.

Prop Wyn Jones returns, while Seb Davies starts at lock, Tomos Williams at scrum-half and Willis Halaholo at centre.

Australia will be without injured captain Michael Hooper.

The back row, 30, suffered a foot injury in the 32-15 defeat against England and is ruled out at the Principality Stadium, with prop James Slipper taking the armband.

In all, Wales head coach Wayne Pivac makes seven changes in personnel for their final Autumn Nations Series game.

Defeats against New Zealand and South Africa were followed by an unconvincing win over 14-man Fiji.

Halaholo and Nick Tompkins, both late replacements to the bench and starting line-up respectively last weekend, get the nod as the midfield partnership, with fellow centre Jonathan Davies not named in the match-day squad.

Hooker Ryan Elias remains the only constant in the front row and is one of only three players to start all four of Wales’ autumn Tests, alongside lock Adam Beard and back row Taine Basham.

Ellis Jenkins will lead the side from the blindside flank, with Basham returning to the openside as Wainwright returns at number eight after injury.

“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,” Pivac said.

“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.

“[Wallabies coach] 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.

“It’s going to be an enthralling encounter I think and a great way to finish a series. We’re really looking forward to Saturday.”

Wales host the Wallabies on Saturday after being accompanied throughout the autumn by repeated injury setbacks.

Pivac has used close to 40 players across the three internationals so far.

Wales’ hefty list of absentees includes British and Irish Lions Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Ross Moriarty, Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi, Leigh Halfpenny and George North.

Prop WillGriff John and Will Rowlands have added to the casualty list after suffering head injuries against Fiji, with forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys saying Wales were missing 15 forwards against the Wallabies.

“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,” Pivac said.

“With the injuries we’ve faced, we have had to adapt and those are opportunities that some of the players have taken very well.”

Wales’ situation has also seen the emergence of flanker Basham and teenage lock Christ Tshiunza.

Basham’s back-row colleague Jenkins has made an impressive return following a three-year absence from international rugby due to injury.

Wales have won their past two encounters against Australia, including a pivotal 2019 World Cup pool victory, after a run of 13 successive defeats in the fixture.

Success on Saturday would send them into the start of a Six Nations title defence next February with spirits high.

Teams:

Wales: L Williams; Rees-Zammit, Tompkins, Halaholo, Adams; Biggar, T Williams; W Jones, Elias, Francis, Beard, S Davies, Jenkins (capt), Basham, Wainwright.

Replacements: Dee, G Thomas, Lewis, Carter, Tshiunza, G Davies, Priestland, McNicholl.

Australia: tbc

Replacements: tbc

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (FFR, Nika Amashukeli (GRU)

TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)

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