Source: Joe Allison/Getty Images

Australia v Wales

  • +1

How things look

It’s an indication of the tightness in the WXV structures that the Wallaroos have an outside chance of going home with the trophy.

That’s less than probable, but the addition of the now familiar bonus points makes it possible. The Wallaroos are just one of several nations for whom the tournament has been hugely beneficial. In tneir first game they held England off in the latter stages, despite losing a player to a card.

Then they achieved the second big tournament upset in beating the French by a distance. The improvement they showed came on several fronts: the line-out, a previous source of weakness, tightened up and their penalty count, also a dampener, improved markedly. They were able to build multi-phase attacks that finished with tries.

Jay Tregonning was full of praise for his team’s performance. He claimed not to be surprised; they had laid emphasis on a team performance, and that was what shone through.

For Cymru this match is more a matter of finishing a difficult series on a high. Teams aren’t allowed to say they haven’t got a chance, but the Welsh had squeezed into the top division through the narrowest of doors. Like the Scots they are advancing fast; unlike them they have experienced a heavy defeat which leaves them with few illusions.

Ioan Cunningham has made six changes plus one positional change to his squad from the trouncing against New Zealand. Up front Donna Rose is counted out by an HIA. Carys Phillips plays hooker again and Cerys Hale will win her 48th cap in Rose’s place. Kate Williams replaces Alisha Butchers on the flank in a more surprising move.

Out behind Jasmine Joyce returns to full-back, allowing Lisa Neumann to play right-wing. Carys Cox gets the nod on the other wing.

Cunningham is in no doubt about the challenge that faces them for a third match in succession: the Wallaroos beat les Bleues who beat the Black Ferns. If Cymru defeat Australia that would complete a delightful trio of apple-carts upset. But their strategy, like several others, is long-term.

The present concern is not a new one; their lack of size and power in the pack is likely to tell against them.

Jay Tregonning was delighted to be able to make so few changes to his starting side. Indeed the only new face is Maya Stewart who is declared fit again. On the bench he has taken the opportunity to give Bridie O’Gorman, Jasmin Huriwai and Lori Cramer a run-out.


Australia: 1 Brianna Hoy, 2 Tania Naden, 3 Eva Karpani, 4 Sera Naiqama, 5 Michaela Leonard (captain), 6 Siokapesi Palu, 7 Emily Chancellor, 8 Kaitlan Leaney, 9 Layne Morgan, 10 Carys Dallinger, 11 Ivania Wong, 12 Arabella McKenzie, 13 Georgina Friedrichs, 14 Maya Stewart, 15 Faitala Moleka

Bench: 16 Adiana Talakai, 17 Bree-Anna Cheatham, 18 Bridie O’Gorman, 19 Atasi Lafai, 20 Ashley Marsters, 21 Jasmin Huriwai, 22 Cecilia Smith, 23 Lori Cramer

Wales: 15. Jasmine Joyce, 14. Lisa Neumann, 13. Hannah Jones (captain), 12. Hannah Bluck,
11. Carys Cox, 10. Lleucu George, 9. Keira Bevan, 1. Gwenllian Pyrs, 2. Carys Phillips, 3. Sisilia Tuipulotu, 4. Abbie Fleming, 5. Georgia Evans, 6. Kate Williams, 7. Alex Callender, 8. Bethan Lewis

Bench: 16. Kelsey Jones, 17. Abbey Constable, 18. Cerys Hale, 19. Alisha Butchers, 20. Sioned Harries, 21. Meg Davies, 22. Robyn Wilkins, 23. Keryn Lake

Match Details:

Friday 3 November at Go Media Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland. KO 19.00 (local time), 06.00 (UK time)