Wales v Australia teams

Open-side Sam Warburton, 23, got the nod ahead of veteran flanker Martyn Williams for Wales’ opening autumn Test with Australia in Cardiff on Saturday. He is joined in the backrow by Jonathan Thomas and Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate.

Sam Warburton

Dragons wing Will Harries replaces the injured Leigh Halfpenny for his first start after winning his first cap on the summer tour to New Zealand. Whilst James Hook has been moved to full-back from centre in Lee Byrne’s absence. With Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies among the absentees, Andrew Bishop and Tom Shanklin form the midfield partnership.

Warren Gatland’s starting XV at the Millennium Stadium will feature only three players over the age of 30 they are; wing Shane Williams, centre Shanklin and fly-half Stephen Jones. Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees will lead the side for the first time because Ryan Jones, the Ospreys number eight, has a calf injury which has forced the Wales coach to reshuffle his back row.

Australia however have the luxury of picking the same team that beat the All Blacks in Hong Kong.


James Hook; Will Harries, Tom Shanklin, Andrew Bishop, Shane Williams, Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees (c), Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, Jonathan Thomas.
Replacements: Huw Bennett, Paul James, Deiniol Jones, Martyn Williams, Richie Rees, Dan Biggar, Chris Czekaj.

Kurtley Beale; James O’Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Mark Chisholm, Nathan Sharpe, Rocky Elsom (capt), David Pocock, Ben McCalman.
Replacements: Saia Faingaa, James Slipper, Dean Mumm, Richard Brown, Luke Burgess, Berrick Barnes, Lachie Turner.

Wales v Australia Millennium Stadium Saturday, 6 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT Coverage: BBC TWO