Wales v Australia: Gatland reverts to Fiji XV for Wallabies showdown

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Venue: OL Stadium, Lyon Date: Sunday, 24 September Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app.

Wales have reverted to the starting team that beat Fiji for their decisive World Cup clash with Australia.

Dewi Lake is left out of the squad having led the side against Portugal, with Ryan Elias preferred at hooker.

Prop Henry Thomas is set to make his tournament debut from the bench.

Victory for Wales would guarantee a place in the quarter-finals and leave Australia on the brink of exiting a World Cup at the pool stage for the first time in their history.

Jac Morgan once again captains the side having played a full 80 minutes in the 32-26 win over Fiji and being called in as a last minute replacement for Tommy Reffell against Portugal last weekend.

He is joined in the back row by Aaron Wainwright and Taulupe Faletau at number eight.

However there is no place in the match-day squad for Morgan’s squad co-captain Lake, with Elliot Dee preferred as second choice hooker.

Adam Beard is set to win his 50th cap when he resumes his second-row partnership with Will Rowlands, behind Gareth Thomas, Elias and Tomas Francis who are reinstated in the front row.

Liam Williams starts at full-back, with Louis Rees-Zammit and Josh Adams on the wings, despite stiff competition from Rio Dyer who impressed against Portugal and is named among the replacements.

George North partners Nick Tompkins in the midfield, with Dan Biggar and Gareth Davies as half-backs.

Reffell misses out on a place in the matchday squad after pulling up in the warm-up in Nice with a tight calf, with Taine Basham providing cover on the bench.

Thomas, who was unavailable for the opening two games with a hamstring complaint, replaces Dillon Lewis on the bench, while Gareth Anscombe is selected ahead of Sam Costelow as fly-half cover.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “We’re happy with our position going into this game. We have two wins and 10 points. There’s a confidence among this group and we’ve had a good edge to training this week.

“Everyone wants to be involved and there were some disappointed players, 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. We are looking to get better every week. 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: L Williams; Rees-Zammit, North, Tompkins, Adams; Biggar, G Davies; G Thomas, Elias, Francis, Rowlands, Beard, Wainwright, Morgan (capt).

Replacements: Dee, Domachowski, H Thomas, D Jenkins, Basham, T Williams, Anscombe, Dyer.

Australia: Kellaway; Nawaqanitawase, Petaia, Kerevi, Koroibete; Donaldson, McDermott; Bell, Porecki (capt), Slipper, Frost, Arnold, Leota, T Hooper, Valetini.

Replacements: Faessler, Schoupp, Fa’amausili, Philip, McReight, White, Gordon, Vunivalu.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Source: BBC News

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