Wales get Adams back for Wallabies clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has named his team for their final Test of the 2021 end-of-year series.
Wales welcome Australia for the first time since claiming a home victory over the Southern Hemisphere side, in November 2018.
Dan Biggar, who kicked the winning penalty in that tense 9-6 victory three years ago, remains in the flyhalf position for Saturday’s clash with Cardiff’s Tomos Williams returning to the starting scrumhalf berth.
Wing Josh Adams is named in the starting XV for the final Test after pulling out with a calf injury ahead of kick-off last week. He’s joined in the back-three by try-scoring speedster Louis Rees-Zammit and Player of the Match against Fiji, fullback Liam Williams.
Uilisi Halaholo and Nick Tompkins, both late replacements to the bench and starting line-up respectively last weekend, get the nod as the centre partnership.
Hooker Ryan Elias remains the only constant in the front row with props Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis returning to the starting line-up. Elias is one of only three players to start all four of Wales’ Autumn Nations Series tests, alongside Adam Beard and Taine Basham.
Seb Davies gets his first start of the campaign as he partners Adam Beard in the second row. Ellis Jenkins will lead the side from the blindside flank with Taine Basham returning to the openside as Aaron Wainwright returns to the No.8 position, having missed out on last weekend’s test due to injury.
“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,” said Pivac as he reflected on the end-of-year series so far.
Looking ahead to the final game of the campaign he went on to say; “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.
“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.
“This week I’d encourage [the crowd] to be even louder, and noisier, and back the boys. They’ve worked really hard so to have that 16th man, if you like, really pushing and driving the team on, we’d really, really appreciate that.”
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Uilisi Halaholo, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Ellis Jenkins (captain), 5 Seb Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Wyn Jones.
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.
Date: Saturday, November 20
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 17.30 (17.30 GMT; 04.30 AEDT Sunday, November 21)
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)