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Howley hopeful of fully fit Welsh squad

Rob Howley speaking in Melbourne

Howley hopeful of fully fit Welsh squad

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley is hopeful of having a fully fit squad to pick from for this weekend’s second Test against the Wallabies in Melbourne.

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Dragons No 8 Aaron Wainwright, Japanese-based full back Liam Williams and Ospreys prop Gareth Thomas all picked up injuries in the defeat in Sydney last weekend, while new cap Josh Hathaway took a knock to his arm.

“In terms of those players coming off in the game last weekend, fingers crossed they will be available for selection. We’re waiting for a further assessment on Aaron Wainwright, but we are hopeful of Liam Williams being available for selection,” said Howley.

“Gareth Thomas picked up a bit of a dead leg, but he is back in training, while Josh Hathaway is being monitored after taking a bump on his arm.

“Aaron was outstanding last weekend with his carries and his footwork. He got us on the front foot on many occasions.”

Wales were beaten 25-16 by Australia in Sydney and will now be hoping to level the series in Melbourne as they chase their first win of the year – and their first win on Aussie soil since 1969. They move on to Brisbane next week to face a Queensland XV.

“There is huge disappointment and frustration within the camp after last weekend’s result. We want to give the best version of ourselves in Melbourne,” added Howley.

“It was a huge disappointment in terms of the number of errors – unforced and forced – particularly in the first half. The impact off the bench in the second half was excellent Second half, as was the amount of possession we had towards the end of the game.

“There were probably three or four golden moments in that game where we could have put pressure on Australia on the scoreboard. I thought we really did well to come back into the game at 18-16.

“We can talk about the experience and the learning, of course we can, but we need to start winning Test matches. Unfortunately for us, there were too many moments where we had the opportunity, yet we weren’t able to execute under pressure.

“It was a close Test match for 68 minutes, but we just couldn’t get enough field position and pressure.

“When you look at the age profile and number of caps that Australia have, and you look ar our age profile, I think we’ve got eight players between the ages of 20 and 24, and they’ve got three. The experience these Welsh players are having is fantastic.”

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