Australia are looking to avoid a tenth defeat in 2022 as they head to Cardiff to face Wales
Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Australia coach Dave Rennie made seven changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s final Autumn Nations international against Wales which he hopes will result in a much-needed win.
After opening with a tight victory over Scotland, the Wallabies have been on the wrong end of three narrow losses. They lost by a single point to both France and, in a historic defeat, Italy and by three to top-ranked Ireland last Saturday.
Defeat for the Wallabies would be their 10th in 14 matches in 2022, a record that would consign them to their worst calendar year since 1958.
The Wallabies have lost their last three encounters with Wales and are looking for their first win since a 29-21 victory in Cardiff in 2017.
Rennie’s discomfort is matched however by that of his opposite number. Fellow New Zealander Wayne Pivac is also under immense pressure having seen the Welsh slumping to a first ever defeat by Georgia last weekend.
Rennie has been deprived, though, of some key players. Michael Hooper and Nic White are both injured while fly-half Bernard Foley has had to return to his club in Japan and lock Will Skelton, a regular off the bench, is back on duty with La Rochelle.
As a result of Foley and White’s absences, Rennie has chosen Ben Donaldson at fly-half – his first start in the position – with Jake Gordon slotting in at scrum-half.
“Ben has had a great year,” said Rennie.
“He’s been impressive at training around his skillset and detail and has earned his opportunity to start for his country this week.
“We’re well aware of a Wales side that will be looking to respond after last week but we’re equally as motivated to finish our season on a positive note here in Cardiff.”
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 (capt)
Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Tom Robertson, Sam Talakai, Ned Hanigan, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Noah Lolesio, Jock Campbell
Coach: Dave Rennie (NZL)