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New-look Wallabies get a new captain

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Australia coach Joe Schmidt named Liam Wright as Wallaby captain in a new-look team to face Wales – featuring seven potential debutants for his first Test since taking over from Eddie Jones.

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The Reds flank takes the reins from Will Skelton, who skippered the side during their disastrous World Cup campaign last year.

Skelton is based overseas and was not considered for the two-Test series against the Welsh.

Whether Wright, who has played five Tests, is the long-term choice remains to be seen with Schmidt previously saying he planned to experiment against Warren Gatland’s men.

Allan Alaalatoa and Tate McDermott, who will both start from the bench in Sydney on Saturday, were also seen in the running to don the armband, as was Dave Porecki who is injured.

“The squad has worked hard over the last week or so to prepare as best we can for what’s going to be an incredibly tough Test against Wales,” said Schmidt.

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The New Zealander, appointed in January, handed debuts to Western Force captain and lock Jeremy Williams and Reds’ centre Josh Flook.

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Williams will combine in the second row with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, who was recalled for the first time since 2021.

Hooker Matt Faessler earned his first Wallabies start, alongside props Taniela Tupou and veteran James Slipper, who will line up for his 135th appearance.

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Multiple players who were left out by Jones for the World Cup return – with Jake Gordon and Noah Lolesio at scrumhalf and flyhalf respectively, Hunter Paisami at inside centre, Filipo Daugunu on the wing and Tom Wright at fullback.

Isaac Kailea, Angus Blyth, Charlie Cale, Dylan Pietsch and Tom Lynagh were all named on the bench for potential debuts.

Australia: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (captain), 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Jeremy Williams, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Matt Faessler, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Billy Pollard, 17 Issac Kailea, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Charlie Cale, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Tom Lynagh, 23 Dylan Pietsch.

Date: Saturday, July 6
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 19.45 Australia Eastern time (10.45 UK time; 09.45 GMT)
Referee: Pierre Brousset
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe, James Doleman
TMO: Marius Jonker

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