Wales name strong side for Australia clash as Warren Gatland omits co-captain

Wales boss Warren Gatland has named the same team that beat Fiji in their World Cup opener

Andrew Baldock
Friday 22 September 2023 11:28 BST
Dewi Lake has missed out on a Wales place against Australia (David Davies/PA)
Dewi Lake has missed out on a Wales place against Australia (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)

Wales co-captain and hooker Dewi Lake has missed out on a place in Wales’ matchday 23 for the Rugby World Cup clash against Australia on Sunday.

Head coach Warren Gatland has named the same team that defeated Fiji 12 days ago, with Ryan Elias starting at hooker in a side skippered by flanker Jac Morgan.

Elliot Dee provides cover for Elias on the bench, while lock Adam Beard will win his 50th cap as Wales target a victory that would secure an impressive fourth successive World Cup quarter-final appearance.

There is also a spot among the replacements for former England prop Henry Thomas, who is on course to make his Wales World Cup debut.

Morgan, wing Louis Rees-Zammit and number eight Taulupe Faletau are the only three players named who will have started all of Wales’ Pool C games so far.

Flanker Tommy Reffell, a late withdrawal due to a tight calf muscle before Wales faced Portugal last weekend, also misses out, with Taine Basham providing back-row bench cover.

Wales have lost five of their previous seven World Cup meetings against Australia, but they will start as favourites in Lyon.

While the Wallabies are fighting for World Cup survival following defeat to Fiji last weekend, Wales are top of the group with a maximum 10 points.

Gatland said: “We are happy with our position going into this game. We have two wins and 10 points.

“There is a confidence among this group and we have had a good edge to training this week.

“Everyone wants to be involved and there were some disappointed players this week, which is exactly what we want with competition strong across the squad.

“Every game in the World Cup is tough, the stakes are high and this will be no different. Australia have talented players and we know they will want to come out and put in a performance.

“Our accuracy was good against Fiji, but it was not at the level we would like against Portugal.

“Against Australia, we know we have to take our chances and put them under as much pressure as possible.

“If we play the way we know we can and maintain that for 80 minutes, then we know we will be a very hard team to beat.”

Wales team to face Australia

L Williams (Kubota Spears); L Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), G North (Scarlets), N Tompkins (Saracens), J Adams (Cardiff); D Biggar (Toulon), G Davies (Scarlets); G Thomas (Ospreys), R Elias (Scarlets), T Francis (Provence), W Rowlands (Racing 92), A Beard (Ospreys), A Wainwright (Dragons), J Morgan (Ospreys, capt), T Faletau (Cardiff).

Replacements: E Dee (Dragons), C Domachowski (Cardiff), H Thomas (Montpellier), D Jenkins (Exeter), T Basham (Dragons), T Williams (Cardiff), G Anscombe (Suntory Sungoliath), R Dyer (Dragons).

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