Australia’s spring Rugby tour kicks off when the Wallabies meet Wales at Principality Stadium in Cardiff at 1:30am AEDT on Sunday.
The Wallabies are coming off an abysmal Bledisloe Cup series where they were unable to defeat the All Blacks on all occasions. Things should be different in Cardiff: the Wallabies have a great record against the Welsh and are on an 11-consecutive game winning streak.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has largely stayed with the lineup he chose to face the All Blacks at Eden Park two weeks ago. Flanker Michael Hooper will be ready to go after he picked up his second John Eales medal last week and the inspiring David Pocock will be welcomed back into the side. Pocock replaces Dean Mumm who is serving a one-week suspension.
Scrum-half Will Genia French club team, Stade Francais, refused him permission to play so Nick Phipps will don the number nine jersey as Genia’s replacement.
Wales have a new-look back row and they’ll be strong in the middle of the ruck. Superstar fullback Leigh Halfpenny will be a player to watch as he returns for Wales after a long injury break.
In 39 meetings, starting in 1908, Australia has won 28 Tests to Wales’ 10, with one draw. The five-match tour gives the Wallabies a chance to capture a rugby grand slam – defeating England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland on the same tour – for the first time since 1984.
Wallabies: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Reece Hodge, Henry Speight, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Lopeti Timani, Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (captain), Scott Sio. Reserves: Tolu Latu, James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Scott Fardy, Nick Frisby, Quade Cooper, Sefa Naivalu. – Jesse Mullens
Image of Simon Poidevin under attack during the Wallabies victory over Wales in 1984 from the Wallabies’ Facebook page.