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Faletau hits a century of Test appearances as Wales welcome the Wallabies

International | 24th November 2022

Taulupe Faletau will reach a century of Test appearances as Wales host Australia at Principality Stadium on Saturday.

The Cardiff number eight, who made his Wales debut against Barbarians in 2011, returns to the back row as Wayne Pivac’s side look to finish the Autumn Nations Series on a high.

Faletau, whose 100 Test caps include five for British and Irish Lions across three Tours, joins captain Justin Tipuric and Jac Morgan in the back row.

He is joined in the matchday 23 by four of his Cardiff team-mates, including prop Dillon Lewis who retains his spot at tighthead.

Scrum half Tomos Williams wears the number nine jersey, having started all of Wales’ fixtures in November, with Rhys Priestland and Josh Adams named on the bench.

Ospreys centre Joe Hawkins is given the nod at inside centre as the only uncapped player in the squad, while Leigh Halfpenny and Rio Dyer return to the back three.

Alun Wyn Jones is also reintroduced to the starting XV as Wales look to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Georgia.

Head coach 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.

“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.

“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.”

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets – 97 caps); Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 54 caps), George North (Ospreys – 108 caps), Joe Hawkins (Ospreys – uncapped), Rio Dyer (Dragons – 2 caps); Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 34 caps), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 39 caps); Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 16 caps), Ken Owens (Scarlets – 85 caps), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 44 caps), Adam Beard (Ospreys – 40 caps), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 154 caps), Jac Morgan (Ospreys – 5 caps), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys – 88 caps) captain, Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 94 caps)

Replacements: Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 32 caps), Rhodri Jones (Dragons – 23 caps), Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 66 caps), Ben Carter (Dragons – 8 caps), Josh Macleod (Scarlets – 1 cap), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 15 caps), Rhys Priestland (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps), Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 43 caps)