Australia and Wales have made injury changes for the 2nd Rugby Test

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia and Wales have been forced into major changes due to injuries ahead of Saturday’s second rugby test in Melbourne.

Australia won the opening match of the series 25-16 But he lost captain Liam Wright for the first time to injury.

Head coach Joe Schmidt moved 135-test prop James Slipper to lead the Wallabies in the second Test, moving Rob Vallatini to the side from the back of the scrum to cover for Wright and drawing Charlie Galle at number 8. The starting forward pack and backline remained unchanged.

„We found out a bit about ourselves last week,” Schmidt said of his first Test in charge of the Wallabies. „We’ve worked hard again this week in Melbourne and we’re going to have the support of those in the stands and those at home on Saturday night.”

Wales coach Warren Gatland made two injury changes and two position changes as his side bid for a drought-breaking, series-levelling win.

No

Gatland moved Liam Williams from fullback to wing and replaced Cameron Winnett at no. He called back on the 15th. Dane Plumtree replaced Wainwright at No 8, James Botham came into the starting back row and Mackenzie Martin was called to the bench.

„We’re going through our processes, building on what worked well and sharpening the areas that need improvement,” Gatland said. “We expect Australia to go to another level this weekend and we know we need that too.

„We want to start well and make sure we’re disciplined and accurate. Then it’s about arm wrestling for the duration.”

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While the 50-Test player has been among the leaders of the Welsh team with his high work-rate and impact with the ball, Wainwright has been in doubt since injuring his hamstring late in the opening Test.

Hathaway’s elbow injury did not heal during the Test, although Liam Williams and prop Gareth Thomas overcame injuries to take starting places as Wales ended an eight-Test losing streak.

The Welsh have not won a Test since the group stage of last year’s Rugby World Cup – which included a defeat against Australia – and have not beaten the Wallabies in 12 Tests in Australia since 1969.

Gatland and his team are desperate to avoid a Welsh run of 10 successive defeats after a dismal Six Nations campaign.

„It was an important game,” assistant coach Rob Hawley said. “There is great disillusionment and frustration within the camp. We want to present our best version.

“I thought we did well to come back into the game (1st Test) 18-16. We can talk about experience and learning, of course we can, but we have to start winning Tests.

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Rows:

Australia: Tom Wright, Andrew Kellaway, Josh Fluke, Hunter Baisamy, Filippo Daugunu, Noah Lolesio, Jake Gordon; Charlie Galle, Fraser McCright, Rob Valletini, Lucan Salakaya-Lotto, Jeremy Williams, Danila Duboe, Matt Fessler, James Slipper (capt). Subs: Josh Nassar, Isaac Kylia, Alan Alaladova, Angus Blyth, Langy Gleeson, Nick White, Ben Donaldson, Dylan Peech.

Wales: Cameron Winnett, Liam Williams, Owen Watkin, Mason Grady, Rio Dyer, Ben Thomas, Ellis Bevan; Dane Plumtree, Tommy Refel, James Botham, Daffyd Jenkins, Christ Ciunza, Archie Griffin, Davy Lake (Captain), Gareth Thomas. Subs: Evan Lloyd, Kemsley Mathias, Harry O’Connor, Corey Hill, Mackenzie Martin, Kieran Hardy, Sam Costello, Nick Tompkins.

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AP Rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby

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