Wales vs Australia: Josh Adams and Tomas Francis fit to start in Cardiff

Wales conclude their Autumn Nations Series campaign against Australia.

Andrew Baldock
Friday 19 November 2021 14:53
Wales wing Josh Adams (PA)
Wales wing Josh Adams (PA)

Wales have received a double boost ahead of their Autumn Nations Series finale against Australia after Josh Adams and Tomas Francis were declared fit to start.

The reigning Six Nations champions have more than 15 players unavailable – including a number of British and Irish Lions – for the WallabiesPrincipality Stadium visit on Saturday.

Wing Adams missed the victory over Fiji last Sunday due to a calf muscle issue that forced his withdrawal just before kick-off, while Francis was concussed during training a week ago and saw an independent consultant on Thursday.

Wales prop Tomas Francis (David Davies/PA)

But they will both feature as Wales target a third successive victory over Australia in their final game before the Six Nations opener against Ireland on February 5.

“We want as many players fit as possible, especially two who have been big for us over the last couple of years, so it’s always nice to see people come through,” Wales captain Ellis Jenkins said.

“Josh is just class. He is a world-class finisher, and he has proven that on numerous occasions.

“What people probably don’t see is how competitive he is. He is very physical, he wants to defend.

Ellis Jenkins in action for Wales against South Africa (David Davies/PA)

“Quite often, particularly backs get the reputation that they like to attack and they don’t like to defend, but it really excites him, and you can see he really thrives on the physical aspect of that.

“He is one of the leaders throughout the team who is vocal and has a big say in things.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him. His professionalism off the field is fantastic, and it is not a coincidence that he is continuously improving and consistently excellent.”

Wales began the autumn series with a 54-16 defeat against New Zealand, before suffering a five-point loss to world champions South Africa and then defeating Fiji following a late try burst.

Fiji and Australia are both in Wales’ 2023 World Cup pool, and although that tournament remains some way off, a win this weekend would be timely.

Jenkins added: “With Fiji and Australia being in our World Cup pool as well, there might be a psychological advantage to be gained.

“I am not so sure, personally. There are two years between now and then, but it’s always nice to get one over on whoever you are playing.

“It’s easy to say is it (autumn campaign) a success or failure. A loss at the weekend definitely doesn’t make the campaign a failure. In sport, everyone always gets carried away with results.

Sometimes, it is about the process and what the end-goal is

Wales captain Ellis Jenkins

“No-one remembers the fact that South Africa lost a couple of games in 2018 before they went on to win the World Cup in 2019.

“Sometimes, it is about the process and what the end goal is.

“We want to win and get two wins, and the South Africa game could have been a win as well. There were just a couple of things we got wrong in the last 15 minutes which meant the game got away from us.

“If that hadn’t happened, we would be having a totally different conversation.

Liam Williams scores a try for Wales against Fiji (David Davies/PA)

“It has been a difficult campaign, particularly the first two games, but we have learnt a lot. Lots of players have been given opportunities that they probably wouldn’t have got if everyone was fit.

“That can be difficult in the short term, but it pays dividends in the long term. With the nature of the game, you are going to pick up injuries.

“And if we can expose the second or third-choice players to international rugby in big games like New Zealand, South Africa, Australia in the stadium, in front of full crowds, then it means if they are called up due to injury, it is not a new experience for them.”

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