Pivac should be in the firing line, says Roberts
Jamie Roberts has urged the Welsh Rugby Union to consider firing Wayne Pivac after the head coach oversaw his ninth Test defeat of the year against Australia here on Saturday.
Pivac was under immense pressure to beat the Wallabies after the previous week’s humiliation to Georgia, but despite Wales taking a seemingly impregnable lead they managed to concede 26 points in the final quarter to lose to their injury-ravaged visitors.
Roberts, the former British & Irish Lions centre, has plainly seen enough. “Regardless of this result, I am not quite sure we have seen enough to warrant him taking us to the World Cup,” he said on Amazon Prime.
“Wayne has said that it is for others to make that decision and obviously he wants to stay.
"But I haven’t seen that performance regularly enough throughout the last 12 months to convince me that Wales can have a shot at winning the World Cup.
“Test match rugby is about winning, no matter how you play. It’s a results-driven business, it’s professional sport. I look at this objectively and this year we have lost at home to Italy and Georgia, for the first time in our history.
“If we want to dine at the top table of international rugby, that’s not acceptable. It’s just not been good enough. If that’s happening this year, what can we expect to happen at the World Cup next year?”
Sam Warburton, Roberts’s team-mate, concurred at the same time as hinting at the rumours of dressing dissension. “The consistency needs to be better,” he said. “It shouldn’t take a loss to Georgia to get that reaction. That’s what people are finding frustrating, just how up and down things are. I heard some of the Australian players talking really passionately in the week about [Australian coach] Dave Rennie staying.
“If we heard that from the Welsh camp as well, then that would be quite a powerful thing. So the WRU have got to do their due diligence, speak to the right people, the heads of department, the senior players and figure out if the environment is the right one to drive us forward and only those inside will really know.”
For his part, Pivac remained defiant. "That’s for someone else to comment on," he said when asked if he would keep his job. "I’m contracted until the World Cup."
Australia comeback leaves Pivac's future in huge doubt
If that is it for Wayne Pivac in the Welsh hotseat then what an extraordinary way for the ejector button to be activated.
Australia’s almost unbelievable resurrection could well have spelt the inevitable end for the Kiwi. Wales were 21 points ahead with 20 minutes left, completely on top and seemingly presenting their beleaguered head coach with a lifeline.
In that calamitous final quarter, Pivac was surely cast adrift. Wales had put 30 points on Australia for the first time in the 114-year history of Test matches between these two nations. There was no way that the Dragons were not further to rewrite those record books by winning their fourth in a row against their foes from Down Under.
After all, with Dave Rennie’s ridiculous injury list, this was not the proper Wallabies. Rennie was not merely down to the bare bones of his squad but the withered cartilage underneath. Yet still they found a way to pull success out of a grave apparently dug deep in the Principality Stadium. And all the chatter as a disbelieving crowd left was of another impending demise.
Can Pivac survive? Should he? The Kiwi is due to fly out to France on Sunday for a World Cup recce, so if the axe falls it should be delivered with merciless haste. Never mind Pivac’s own feelings, because Wales have no time to lose if they are going to present a legitimate Webb Ellis challenge.
This remarkable spectacle should have shown everything Pivac’s employers needed to make a decision. Wales have the talent and the capability, but they are clearly without the mental resilience, confidence, wherewithal and, it has to be said, the direction to close out victories when they are not so much on the plate but on the way to the dish-washer.
If the Welsh Rugby Union is not on its knees begging for Warren Gatland to return – if only even on a temporary basis until the World Cup – then that can only be because they have pleaded with him already.
In a bizarre scenario, Gatland was actually here on the sidelines as a TV analyst and when asked a few minutes after the final whistle if Pivac should stay, he referred to the upcoming review that the WRU will make following this campaign. As a confidence vote for his predecessor, it could almost have been written in Westminster.
Pivac has hardly resembled a man assured of his future employment and neither should he, after only three wins from 12 games in 2022 and home defeats against Italy and Georgia. Of course, the latter humiliation came just seven days before this capitulation and triggered the suspicion that the 60-year-old was heading towards the departure lounge no matter how high his team soared in this international season-ender.
Yet such was the power and panache of the Welsh resurgence in the first hour that everything suddenly looked settled on the Pivac CV.
Whoever leads Wales into the Six Nations and beyond will be comforted by the fact that so many positives have emerged from this last four weeks. On the blindside Jac Morgan has been a revelation since replacing Dan Lydiate in the opening autumn Test.
So much for Pivac’s concerns that the Ospreys 22-year-old was not a natural ball-carrier. He has go-forward written throughout his extended bulk, as he proved by re-enacting the brace he scored against Georgia – as perhaps Wales’s one bright spot in that depressing experience – to make it four tries in two games.
The manner in which he finished off Wales’s opening score with the wonderful fend off and strength in the angle he conceived to the line, yelled of an individual who can spot the peaks up ahead.
But who put him in with a deft offload? Nobody else but Alun Wyn Jones, making his first Wales start for eight months and apparently intent on making all those who have written him off at 37 years of age appear as nonsensical ageists.
On his 167th Test cap, Jones was magnificent in that first half – in which Wales compiled a seven-point lead that should have been at least another score greater – highlighting that even if there is not much life left in the old coach there could be at least a few more breathless run-outs remaining in the old dog. He is the ultimate veteran, but in a mood like this can still do an impressive job.
As of course, can Taulupe Faletau. The No 8 scored a try of which a winger would be proud in his 100th Test. Next to captain Justin Tipuric, he has reformed the backrow axis that could carry Wales to revisited heights, particularly with the rise of Morgan. Josh Navidi is also to come back in that role and in the backline Dan Biggar will return as well as Liam Williams.
Leigh Halfpenny was lost just before the kick-off, meaning Josh Adams coming in as full-back. The Lions wing coped with distinction. In fact, it was possible to say that about all the Welsh until that panic button was pressed and Australia grasped the opportunity to prevail at the denouement of their own emotional series.
Tipruic foolishly tripped Pete Samu for a defining yellow card and the wonderful Nawaqanitawase soon added a second try. Wales had the chance to respond in the final second before a turnover and Pivac stood in the box, shook his head and gave a rueful grin. He knew. We all did.
Scoring sequence: 0-3 Donaldson pen, 5-3 Morgan try, 7-3 Anscombe con, 10-3 Anscombe pen, 10-6 Donaldson pen, 15-6 Faletau try, 17-6 Anscombe con, 20-6 Anscombe pen, 20-11 Fainga’a try, 20-13 Donaldson con, 25-13 Morgan try, 27-13 Anscombe con, 32-13 Dyer try, 34-13 Anscombe pen, 34-18 Nawaqanitawase try, 34-23 Nawaqanitawase try, 34-25 Lolesio con, 34-32 Penalty try, 34-37 Lonergan try, 34-39 Lolesio con.
Wales: J Adams; A Cuthbert (K Owens, 74), G North, J Hawkins, R Dyer; G Anscombe (R Priestland, 54), T Williams (K Hardy, 10); G Thomas (R Jones, 68), K Owens (R Elias, 64), D Lewis (T Francis, 58), A Beard, A W Jones (B Carter, 70), J Morgan, J Tipuric (capt), T Faletau (J Macleod, 70).
Yellow card: Tipuric 67, Elias 73.
Australia: T Wright; J Petaia (J Campbell 59), L Ikitau, R Hodge, M Nawaqanitawase; B Donaldson (N Lolesio, 56), J Gordon (T McDermott, 53); J Slipper (capt; T Robertson, 13), F Fainga’a (L Lonerganl, 59), A Alaalatoa (S Talakai. 68), N Frost, C Neville (N Hanigan, 53), J Holloway, F McReight, L Gleeson (P Samu, 51).
Yellow cards: Gordon 36; Robertson 43.
Referee: M Carley (England).
The winning moment
Man of the match is...
...Australia wing Mark Nawaqanitawase - no great shock there. Here's what he had to say to Amazon Prime.
"Us boys had a lot of belief. Obviously there were a few things in the first half like discipline and a few of our carries that let us down. But we showed enough character and courage to come back in the second half."
Wayne Pivac speaks...
On the defeat...
"I think we got everything we wanted in the first half and didn't finished them off. But we scored shortly after the break and got into a situation where we should have [seen out the game]. We clearly took advantage of their indiscipline and they did the same to us when the roles were reversed."
On the performance...
"We spoke before the match about being more physical and how we wanted to play with more expression. I thought for large parts we did that, but we did not bring it home."
On whether he is the right man to lead Wales...
"I wouldn't be here if I didn't so that's enough about that. If the heat is on me it's good as it takes it off the boys."
On a review to take place at this Autumn Series...
"We review every competition, this is no different, we have to take the positives and look at the things we didn't do well."
On whether he wants to remain Wales coach...
"I want to stay, you saw today that when we do things well we are a dangerous team."
Mark Nawaqanitawase again shines
He's some player and it's worth remembering that he wasn't even in the Waratahs side at the start of the Super Rugby season. Remember the name...here's his second try, the one that kickstarted the comeback.
What a comeback
One that if you're Australia will be remembered for many a year. But if you're Welsh that is one for forget - they scored 30 points against the Wallabies for the first time ever, had a 21-point lead with just a quarter to go BUT still, somehow, contrived to lose.
Where now for the Dragons and, more specifically, Wayne Pivac?
FULL-TIME: Wales 34-39 Australia
From the lineout - near the Australia 22 Wales move the ball infield, they are keeping the ball in hand and a slim hope of a win alive.
That is until they lose the ball and AUSTRALIA HAVE WON AN UNLIKLEY VICTORY.
80 mins: Wales 34-39 Australia
As the clock goes red it's the Wallabies who make the error - Wales have a penalty. They kick for the corner and will have a chance from the lineout to get a winning score.
TRY FOR AUSTRALIA!!!!
Wales 34-39 Australia
The stadium is stunned and Australia's comeback is complete.
They may have that two-man advantage but they are trying to play rugby (that kick apart). Nawaqanitawase is one of several Aussies to attack well and ask several questions of the stretched Wales defence. The ball goes right and goes to ground BUT Australia's replacement hooker Lachlan Lonergan is the quickest to react and he scores in the corner.
The extras are added and having been 21 points down the Wallabies are five up.
77 mins: Wales 34-32 Australia
Australia, for some bonkers reason, kick the ball away with a two-man advantage...not sure I will ever understand that.
75 mins: Wales 34-32 Australia
How this game has turned...I've said this before and am about to do so again - this is a HUGE five minutes for Wales who are down to 13 minutes.
As I type Tom Wright, the Wallabies full-back, drops the restart. BUT that advantage isn't capitalised on as Australia win a penalty from the resulting scrum.
Chance for Australia to get a good attacking platform with two-men numerical advantage.
PENALTY TRY FOR AUSTRALIA!
Wales 34-32 Australia
From the resulting lineout the Aussies create a driving maul, they charge for the tryline but it's not clear what's happened. And it goes to the TMO - the on-field decision is no try. BUT they also want to look at whether Wales collapsed the maul.
And Ryan Elias is found to have collapsed the maul and it's a penalty try!! And Wales are now down to 13 men.
72 mins: Wales 34-25 Australia
Australia are now very much the team on top. They're in the Wales 22 and have an advantage - they kick for the corner.
Huge eight minutes left for Wales - five of those will be with 14 men.
TRY FOR AUSTRALIA!
Wales 34-25 Australia
From the resulting lineout the Aussies move the ball infield until a lovely inside pass from, I think, Noah Lolesio sets up Nawaqanitanwase who runs a great line coming in off his wing to score.
Lolesio adds the extras and this is very much GAME ON...
66 mins: Wales 34-18 Australia
Wales are now a man down.
Australia's Samu intercepts inside his own half and looks like he going to score a try until Tiperic moves foot to trip him up. Can Wales hold on here?
Remember the name
Nawaqanitawase has a bright future ahead of him.
65 mins: Wales 34-18 Australia
Adams puts in a fine grubber kick from just inside the Australia half and Tom Wirght is forced to collect and carry the ball into touch.
The Wales lineout works well and they are within a yard of the tryline looking for the score that will surely settle this match. BUT there's a knock-on and the chance goes.
62 mins: Wales 34-18 Australia
There's a little curtain of rain coming through the three-metre gap in the malfunctioning roof. Weird.
Morgan's massive match
Jac Morgan scoring his second try.
TRY FOR AUSTRALIA!
Wales 34-18 Australia
We're back to 15 v 15 and this time it's Australia dominating the scrum. Off the back of the set piece they throw the ball wide right, the ball is well moved through the hands and Nawaqanitawase scores in the corner.
Lolesio, on for Donaldson, misses the conversion from the right touchline.
54 mins: Wales 34-13 Australia
Anscombe has been brilliant today but his match is over after receiving what looks like an accidental knee to the forearm. He looks in pain and his race is run. The fly-half is replaced by another of the old guard as Rhys Priestland comes on to replace him.
All going Wales' way
AWJ Celebrates Morgan's second try.
TRY FOR WALES!
Wales 34-13 Australia
Wales look to turn the screw and kick for the corner. Australia defend this lineout better than the previous try-scoring one.
Wales move the ball in field this time, Ken Owens is among those who try to barge over the line before the ball is moved swiftly left and Dyer goes over in the corner. Great stuff - front-foot ball without errors against 14 men makes rugby easy to play and good to watch. Wales are playing into space and making it look simple.
Anscombe splits the posts for the extra two points.
Wales have gone north of 30 points against Australia for the first time in their history.
50 mins: Wales 27-13 Australia
The Welsh maul is causing the Aussie so many problems and it's not beyond the realms of possibility that another Wallaby could see yellow. They're back up to 14 but the hosts are all over the Australians at the moment and as I type the tourists are being warned they are one more infringement away from going back down to 13...
48 mins: Wales 27-13 Australia
Here's a stat - Wales have never scored more than 30 points against Australia. Just three short with most of the second half to go.
TRY FOR WALES!
Wales 27-13 Australia
Wales kick, as you'd expect, for the corner.
Jake Gordon is still off so the hosts have a two-man advantage.
From the lineout Tiperic takes and creates a driving maul that the tourists have not hope of stopping. It's a phenomenal lineout drive that ends with man of the match so far Jac Morgan scoring.
Anscombe adds the extras and Wales have made the most of the numerical advantage.
45 mins: Wales 20-13 Australia
Australia are down for the next two and a half minutes to 13 men as Tom Robertson, on for Slipper, is shown for yellow for yet more scrum infringements.
Surely Wales can make the numerical advantage count. They need to capitalise - huge moment for the hosts.
42 mins: Wales 20-13 Australia
Every penalty for Australia - it's in their own half, just, but Hodge fancies it and they go for the posts.
He gives is a huge boot - he has the distance but hits the post. That would have gone another 10 yards or so if the upright hadn't got in the way.
40 mins: Wales 20-13 Australia
Wales didn't score a point in the second half against Georgia, to state the obvious they cannot afford for that to happen again. They will still have a man advantage for the first few minutes this half.
Player of the first half
Has to be Jac Morgan - to think he wasn't picked in the past because they weren't sure about his carrying ability.
HALF TIME: Wales 20-13 Australia
From the resulting scrum Wales win a penalty - they go for another scrum - can Wales find the space afforded them by the man advantage? Not yet, as there's another penalty for the hosts - Australia could be down to 13 men if they continue like this.
And there's another penalty...no yellow card is issued though, much to the annoyance of the crowd.
This time Faletau takes it off the back of the scrum, passes to Hardy and Wales are held up and it goes forward.
How Wales didn't get any points from that last period of play is bizarre - a combination of good Australia defence and an error.
Anyway, that's the end of the first half - one that neither coach will be too upset about. You feel Wales should be more than seven points to the good.
37 mins: Wales 20-13 Australia
Rio Dyer very nearly goes over in the corner for the Welsh after great hands from Tiperic and North before the hosts then move infield. The Australians defend well BUT it comes back for an early infringement when Dyer nearly score - scrum-half Jake Gordon offside with the Welsh looking for the score. The hosts get a penalty and Gordon sees a yellow for his trouble.
Try time for Taulupe
Here's how the 100-Test man got his try.
TRY FOR AUSTRALIA!
Wales 20-13 Australia
From the resulting lineout Wales infringe again - for contact in the air - and Australia have another penalty and once again they kick for the corner.
From this lineout the tourists create a driving maul it's going forward, can they get it down? Well, it's not overly clear. The on-field decision is try but TMO needs to agree. And the video ref does indeed agree. Folau Fainga'a was the man to touch down and in the end it proved to be a great decision to go for more points rather than the penalty.
Donaldson adds the extras and they are now only a converted try back of the hosts.
30 mins: Wales 20-6 Australia
We are given a glimpse of Nawaqanitawase's class as the young Waratahs wing shows the Wales defence a clean pair of heels inside their 22. The Australians have a penalty for a high tackle and - considering they're 14 down already - kick for the corner.
Jac Morgan's try
Morgan's having a great match.
PENALTY FOR WALES!
Wales 20-6 Australia
Anscombe takes the hosts to 20 points - it's been an outstanding start for Pivac's men just when they needed it.
25 mins: Wales 17-6 Australia
Jac Morgan charges through several Aussie Gold shirts - he's made a fantastic start to this match, while the tourists are looking a tired outift at the moment.
Fraser McReight is then penalised for a no-arms tackle and it's a penalty for the Welsh - they decide to go for goal.
TRY FOR WALES!
Wales 17-6 Australia
Wales have an advantage inside the Australia 22 - will they need it? They have been playign well and will want more than just three points. They go from the left flank to the right touchline and move the ball ultimately into the mitts of Faletau who sees the line and makes a beeline for it touching down in the corner on his 100th Test.
The hosts have deserved that. That was an excellent attacking set from the Welsh.
As if to emphasize all is going Wales' way Anscombe hits a peach of a penalty, right from the right touchline.
AWJ has started impressively
PENALTY FOR WALES!
Wales 10-6 Australia
Anscombe kicks the three points from near the right touchline and Wales are in double points. They are doing the basics well at the moment and when you do that - rather than knock-on - the game becomes so much easier...
17 mins: Wales 7-6 Australia
Wales work through 12 phases doing the basics well and making metres thanks to great speed of ball. AWJ's has still got it and is proving a handful for the Aussie defence. Jac Morgan is also playing well and as I type the tourists infringe and it's a penalty for Wales.
Even first 15 minutes so far
PENALTY TO AUSTRALIA!
Wales 7-6 Australia
It's back to a single-point game as Donaldson kicks the penalty in front of the posts.
13 mins: Wales 7-3 Australia
The Australians are in the Wales half and moving the ball well in hand, there's a high tackle and it's a penalty to the tourists.
12 mins: Wales 7-3 Australia
Wales have bounced back well after the poor start but the Wallabies will wonder how AWJ had so much space to dash through.
TRY FOR WALES!
Wales 7-3 Australia
Wales again in a promising position, inside the Wallabies 22. The work through the phases and have the advantage, they don't need it though as AWJ scampers through a gap before offloading nonchalantly one-handed to Jac Morgan who barges over the line. Really good interplay and the old warhorse (AWJ obvs...) has been seriously impressive so far, and not just based on that try.
Anscombe adds the extras and Wales are in front by four.
6 mins: Wales 0-3 Australia
From the resulting lineout AWJ finds Faletau and the 100-Test man drives towards the line before Williams knocks on. Once again there's a lack of clinical edge in the opposition 22 - that's what cost them last week and has already reared its head here.
5 min: Wales 0-3 Australia
Better from the hosts - they dominate, this time, at the scrum and win a penalty. They decide to kick for touch and Anscombe finds it inside the Australia 22.
PENALTY FOR AUSTRALIA!
Wales 0-3 Australia
Perfect start for the Aussie and for new fly-half Donaldson who - having missed the crucial match-determining penalty in the defeat to Italy - slots home this penalty from 30 yards out.
Poor start from the hosts, nothing gone for them yet.
2 mins: Wales 0-0 Australia
The first scrum goes the way of the Wallabies as they win a scrum penalty - it takes the tourists all of one second to decide not to look this gift horse in the mouth and they decide to go for goal.
1 min: Wales 0-0 Australia
They're under way in Cardiff and not the best start for the hosts as Adam Beard knocks on from the Aussie kick off...Ahem...
Late change for Wales!
Halfpenny has injured himself and Josh Adams comes into the starting XV at full-back.
Not an ideal start...
The teams are out on the hallowed Cardiff turf
And it's national anthem time. Two goodies coming up, Advance Australia Fair and the rousing, passionate Land of my Fathers.
So a must-win match for both teams
But the real pressure has to be on Wales. They are at home and have a really experienced side out there compared to a Wallabies XV shorn of several first-choice players.
Also, as Jamie Roberts says on Amazon Prime, regardless of recent results, they remain dark horses for next year's World Cup.
Australia coach Dave Rennie speaks...
On whether this is a must-win match for Australia...
"Ah, yes. We've lost a couple of tight ones on tour and in the Rugby Championship when we've got in position to win and haven't. But we know they'll be pretty desperate as well."
On missing so many first-choice players...
"We haven't talked about who's missing just who we've got. It's a chance for others to step up not going to use it as an excuse."
On picking Donaldson as his fifth fly-half this year...
"He's a good young man who we've bought with us to find out about. It's a big Test for him."
On what he's expecting today...
"I expect [Wales] to bar up. But we are grump about our loss last week as well."
Some of you may well be asking...
...Why is Pivac still at the helm?
Well, thanks to James Corrigan, here's why...
Wayne Pivac speaks...
On whether this has been his toughest week...
"It's not about me, it's about the performance we need this week after last week. It's been tough on everyone it's about today's result and we have 80 mins to show exactly what we can do."
On whether an Australia side without many first-choice players are ripe for the taking...
"We've talked about what we need to bring. Australia are a proud side and no matter who is on the pitch [Australia] will be a tough opponent - they've shown that this tour."
On 20-year-old Joe Hawkins starting...
"He's been training well for past five weeks, he's got a great skillset and it's a great occasion for him."
The rise of the machines
If you, like me, are weary of technology then this will make you both laugh and cry...apparently the computer system that controls the opening and shutting of the roof isn't playing ball. The upshot is that the roof is neither open nor shut - there's a three-metre gap and that will remain throughout the duration of this Test.
There has (understandably) been a lot of focus on Wayne Pivac
But the Wales coach's opposite number Dave Rennie is equally under huge pressure. Defeat today would mean 2022 would be a record-equalling worst year for the Wallabies.
Fair to say the Welsh could do with a win today
For the whole nation. Gareth Bale and Co were beaten 2-0 by Iran in Qatar and now it's over to the egg-chasers (as their footballing cousins call them) to try and lift the low sporting spirits in the principality.
How it currently is...
How they want to look after today's final whistle (happier...)
Aussies forced to shuffle their pack
The Wallabies had to send home seven players who were injured in last Saturday's 13-10 loss to Ireland in Dublin. On top of that fly-half Bernard Foley and lock Will Skelton had to return to their overseas clubs as the Wales game was outside the international Test window.
That forced nine changes, one positional.
Folau Fainga'a was at hooker after David Porecki was concussed. The tight five was otherwise unchanged but the back row lost Michael Hooper to concussion symptoms and Rob Valetini to an ankle injury. They have been replaced by Fraser McReight and Gleeson for his third cap.
Waratahs halves Jake Gordon and Donaldson have replaced Nic White, concussed, and the departed Foley.
Wales have gone for experience
After a humbling loss to Georgia it's no huge shock to see Pivac look to old, trusted heads as he bids to win today against the Wallabies.
Recalled are Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, Leigh Halfpenny and Gareth Anscombe. Wing Rio Dyer, who made a try-scoring debut against New Zealand this month, has been picked ahead of Josh Adams, and Joe Hawkins will make his debut in an all-Ospreys line of inside backs.
The reserves have also been strengthened with experience with hooker Ryan Elias, 66-cap prop Tomas Francis, and backs Kieran Hardy, Rhys Priestland and Adams all ready to come on if needed.
Faletau will play his 100th Test; 95th for Wales after five for the British and Irish Lions.
How the two XVs line up
WALES XV TO FACE AUSTRALIA: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, George North, Joe Hawkins, Rio Dyer, Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric (captain), Jac Morgan, Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Beard, Dillon Lewis, Ken Owens, Gareth Thomas.
Reserves: Ryan Elias, Rhodri Jones, Tomas Francis, Ben Carter, Josh Macleod, Kieran Hardy, Rhys Priestland, Josh Adams.
AUSTRALIA XV TO FACE WALES: Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Reece Hodge, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Ben Donaldson, Jake Gordon; Langi Gleeson, Fraser McReight, Jed Holloway, Cadeyrn Neville, Nick Frost, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga'a, James Slipper (captain).
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Tom Robertson, Sam Talakai, Ned Hanigan, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Noah Lolesio, Jock Campbell.
Must-win match for both Wales and Australia
Wales don't do so-so years. The side from the Land of my Fathers veer from abject uselessness (think 2007) to Grand Slam greatness (think 2008), it's never bland. And it's fair to say this year is very much the former. Last week's defeat to Georgia would have been bad enough in and of itself, but that it came months after a home defeat to Italy only highlighted that all is not well with the Welsh - and that's an understatement.
So today's Test against Australia is the last chance for some sort of redemption for the Dragons, and even then a win would do little to polish what has been a tarnished year. But Wayne Pivac's side have the ability to pull rabbits out of hats and they may well fancy their chances of victory against a Wallabies side at the end of their autumn campaign.
On the flip side Australia - having suffered close defeats to France, Italy and Ireland in consecutive weeks - will doubtless want to end their northern hemisphere tour on a high and, some may say, deserved winning note. Deserved because both the one-point loss to France and three-point defeat to Ireland could have so easily have gone the other way. The Wallabies were brilliant against both the world Nos 1 and 2 and, as with Wales, illustrated that on any given day they can beat anyone.
An autumn series record of one win (a one-point scrape against Scotland) in five would not really reflect how the Australians have played and a victory over the Welsh, while not making up for those close defeats, would at least put a deserving sheen to an otherwise drab campaign.
Wales have won three in a row against Australia, but all three of those victories were by small margins (one, four and three points) so expect another close one today. Stay here for all the pre-match build up and action.