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Ben Thomas starting at 10 against Australia

International | 4th July 2024

Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland has named five Cardiff Rugby players in his Wales squad to face Australia at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday 6 July (KO 10.45 BST, 19.45 local time live on Sky Sports).

Ellis Bevan, Ben Thomas and Mason Grady have been selected in the starting XV, with Evan Lloyd and James Botham on the bench.

No. 8 Aaron Wainwright will win his 50th international cap six years after making his first Wales appearance as a replacement in the 23-10 win over Argentina in San Juan (9 June 2018).

Josh Hathaway is selected on the wing to make his senior international debut and become the 1,207th men’s player to represent Wales.

Rio Dyer is named on the opposite wing, while Liam Williams moves to full-back.

Captain Dewi Lake starts at hooker. Archie Griffin, selected at tighthead prop, makes his first start for Wales. Gareth Thomas (loosehead prop) completes the front row.

Christ Tshiunza features for Wales for the first time since Rugby World Cup 2023, he partners Dafydd Jenkins in the second row.

Taine Plumtree is at blind-side flanker, Tommy Reffell returns to the starting XV at open-side flanker.

Bevan, who won his first cap against South Africa two weeks ago, continues at scrum half. Thomas starts at fly half, making his first appearance for Wales since 2021.

Grady and Owen Watkin again pair up in the midfield.

On the Wales bench Lloyd, Kemsley Mathias and Harri O’Connor are the front row cover with Cory Hill and Botham the other forward replacements.

Back-line cover is provided by Kieran Hardy, Sam Costelow and Nick Tompkins.

Gatland said: “We’ve had a good week of preparations here in Sydney and are excited to get out on field on Saturday.

“This first Test is going to be a great challenge for us. Test matches are all about fine margins and we know we need to be accurate, keep our discipline and stay in the fight for the full 80 minutes.

“There’s a lot of talent within the Australia squad and we know they will want to come out firing and put in a performance against us this weekend."

Wales XV to face Australia | Tîm Cymru i wynebu Awstralia
15. Liam Williams (Kubota Spears – 90 caps)
14. Josh Hathaway (Gloucester Rugby / Caerloyw – uncapped / heb gap)
13. Owen Watkin (Ospreys / Gweilch – 39 caps)
12. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 12 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons / Dreigiau – 20 caps)
10. Ben Thomas (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 2 caps)
9. Ellis Bevan (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 1 cap)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys / Gweilch – 31 caps)
2. Dewi Lake (Ospreys / Gweilch – 13 caps)
3. Archie Griffin (Bath Rugby / Caerfaddon – 1 cap)
4. Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 10 caps)
5. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs / Caerwysg – 17 caps)
6. Taine Plumtree (Scarlets – 3 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers / Caerlŷr – 18 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons / Dreigiau – 49 caps)

Replacements / Eilyddion
16. Evan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 3 caps)
17. Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets – 3 caps)
18. Harri O’Connor (Scarlets – 2 caps)
19. Cory Hill (Secom Rugguts – 32 caps)
20. James Botham (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 11 caps)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 21 caps)
22. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 13 caps)
23. Nick Tompkins (Saracens / Saraseniaid – 36 caps)


Saturday 6 July: Australia v Wales
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
KO 10.45h BST / 19.45h local time

Saturday 13 July: Australia v Wales
AAMI Park, Melbourne
KO 10.45 BST / 19.45h local time

Friday 19 July: Queensland Reds v Wales
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
KO 10.45 BST / 19.45h local time