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Joe Hawkins

Joe Hawkins during training.

Wales name side to face Australia

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Head coach Wayne Pivac has named the Wales senior men’s team to play Australia in the fourth and final round of the Autumn Nations Series.

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Wales face the Wallabies at Principality Stadium on Saturday ( KO 3.15pm). The match is live on Prime Video, with English and Welsh broadcasts available. There are also highlights on S4C.

Osprey Joe Hawkins will win his first senior men’s international cap, coming in at inside centre for Owen Watkin who has been ruled out of the match due to a knee injury. George North partners Hawkins in the Wales midfield.

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Leigh Halfpenny, named at full back, makes his first start for Wales since the summer of 2021 having featured as a replacement last weekend. Rio Dyer and Alex Cuthbert are selected on the wings.

Taulupe Faletau returns to the Wales XV at No. 8 and will make his 100th Test appearance (95th for Wales and five Lions). Joining him in the back row are Jac Morgan (blind-side flanker) and captain Justin Tipuric (open-side flanker).

Alun Wyn Jones is also named in the starting line-up, alongside Adam Beard in the Wales second row. Gareth Thomas (loose-head prop), Ken Owens (hooker) and Dillon Lewis (tight-head prop) continue in the front row.

Gareth Anscombe at fly half starts his third match this November. Tomos Williams is at scrum half.

On the Wales bench the front row cover is provided by Ryan Elias (hooker), Rhodri Jones (loose-head prop) and Tomas Francis (tight-head prop). Ben Carter and Josh Macleod, who made his senior international debut against Georgia, are the other replacement forwards.

Kieran Hardy, Rhys Priestland and Josh Adams will cover the backs.

Pivac said: “The whole squad is extremely disappointed with last week’s performance. It’s not the result that anybody wanted. It’s not the result that anyone expected. We’ve gone through a review process. We know what went wrong and what is required to get the result this weekend.

“There’s been an injury to Owen Watkin which gives an opportunity to young Joe Hawkins. He’s obviously very excited. He’s been in camp training for the last month and learning a lot and he’s looked good in training, so he gets an opportunity.

“Some players have come back that were not involved last week. Certainly, it’s a side we’ve selected to get a result which we’re desperately seeking. They’ve gelled well at the start of the week, and we look forward to seeing how we go.

“Clearly this will be a step up – we’re playing an Australian side that will have a lot of changes for probably similar reasons to ourselves over the last month or so with injuries, but what we do know about Australia is that they’re a dangerous side whatever team they put out. We’ve seen that with the close games in this autumn series. So we’re expecting a very, very tough battle.

On Faletau making his 100th Test appearance: “Toby is a world-class player and it’s testament to his hard work and commitment that he’s making his 100th Test appearance this weekend. I know it will be a proud day for him and his family,” said Pivac.

Wales senior men’s team to play Australia in the Autumn Nations Series Saturday 26 November, KO 3.15pm GMT. Live on Prime Video (English and Welsh broadcasts) with highlights on S4C.

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 97 caps)
14. Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 54 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 108 caps)
12. Joe Hawkins (Ospreys – uncapped)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 2 caps)
10. Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 34 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 39 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 16 caps)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets – 85 caps)
3. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 44 caps)
4. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 40 caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 154 caps)
6. Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 5 caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 88 caps) captain
8. Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 94 caps)

16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 32 caps)
17. Rhodri Jones (Dragons – 23 caps)
18. Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 66 caps)
19. Ben Carter (Dragons – 8 caps)
20. Josh Macleod (Scarlets – 1 cap)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 15 caps)
22. Rhys Priestland (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
23. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 43 caps)

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