Categories crunchfx

Australia v Wales: Gatland backs Cam Winnett, Aaron Wainwright out: Planet Rugby

Star eight Aaron Wainwright will be out with a hamstring injury and Warren Gatland will be forced to switch places in the back row for Wales’ Test match against Australia in Melbourne.

In Wainwright’s absence, Taine Plumtree moves to five-eighth, with James Botham coming in from the blindside wing, while Tommy Reffell retains his place.

Second-row young duo Christ Tshiunza and Dafydd Jenkins continue their work, while captain Dewi Lake is joined by front-row props Archie Griffin and Gareth Thomas.

World rankings: Springboks strengthen hold, Wales hit new low

Back-three changes

An injury to Josh Hathaway has seen the experienced Liam Williams move to the wing and Cameron Winnett move to full-back, with the speedy Rio Dyer keeping his place on the wing.

Other players at the back are Mason Grady and Owen Watkin, while Ben Thomas and Ellis Bevan continue the midfield partnership.

Gatland opted for a traditional 5–3 split, with Kieran Hardy, Sam Costelow and Nick Tomkins as back-row options on the bench, while Evan Lloyd, Kelmsey Mathias, Harri O’Connor, Cory Hill and Mackenzie Martin were reserve forwards.

“We’re looking forward to getting back on the pitch in Melbourne this weekend,” Gatland said.

“This week we reviewed our processes, improving what was working well and clarifying areas for improvement.

“We expect Australia to step up this weekend and we know we need to do that too.

Wales XV to face Australia

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Mason Grady, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Ben Thomas, 9 Ellis Bevan, 8 Taine Plumtree, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 James Botham, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Christ Tshiunza, 3 Archie Griffin, 2 Dewi Lake (c), 1 Gareth Thomas
Backups: 16 Evan Lloyd, 17 Kemsley Mathias, 18 Harry O’Connor, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Mackenzie Martin, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Sam Costelow, 23 Nick Tompkins

History: Saturday, July 13, 2024
To start: 19:45 local (10:45 BST)
Place: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Judge: Nika Amashukeli (GRU)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (RFU), Paul Williams (NZR)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

READ MORE: James Slipper to lead Joe Schmidt’s Wallabies for Wales Test in injury-hit changes