Wayne Pivac calls on Wales to make Autumn Nations Series campaign a success

Wayne Pivac believes victory over Australia on Saturday would mean injury-hit Wales could reflect on a “successful” Autumn Nations Series campaign.

Wales have more than 15 players unavailable – including a number of British and Irish Lions – for the Wallabies’ visit to the Principality Stadium.

And even after naming his team to face Australia, Wales head coach Pivac still requires final confirmation on the availability of two planned starters in wing Josh Adams and prop Tomas Francis.

Adams missed the victory over Fiji last weekend due to a calf muscle issue, while Francis was concussed during training last week.

“We’ve named him (Adams) on the basis he will come through training (on Thursday),” Pivac said. “We’ve been advised that he should.

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“I am hoping like everyone else that he comes through because he is an important part of our side.”

And on Francis, Pivac added: “He is seeing an independent consultant this evening (Thursday), so he has been named on the proviso that he comes through that process.

“Failing that, we have obviously been training with Plan B all week.”

Assessing the autumn campaign as a whole – Wales suffered contrasting defeats against New Zealand (54-16) and South Africa (23-18) before beating Fiji – Pivac said: “We have lost senior guys that would hurt any side.

“But it is great opportunities for guys, and some have come in and done very, very well. That has been a massive positive.

“To come up against the world champions (South Africa) in conditions that suited them, that was a huge effort from our players, particularly the forward pack, who are probably the most damaged in terms of loss of experience.

A win is what we are after, and I think a win would make it successful

“And then to turn around and play that game against Fiji, which was always a very difficult and physical opponent.

“A win is what we are after, and I think a win would make it successful.”

Other starters include centre Uilisi Halaholo, who tested positive for coronavirus last month and spent 10 days isolating, partnering Nick Tompkins in midfield.

Scarlets’ 93 times-capped centre Jonathan Davies does not feature, with flanker Ellis Jenkins continuing as captain at the Principality Stadium.

Jenkins is joined in the back-row by a fit-again Aaron Wainwright and Taine Basham and there is a recall for Lions prop Wyn Jones, who packs down alongside Ryan Elias and Francis.

Davies is currently on 99 Test match appearances for Wales and the Lions, although any chance of hitting the century landmark will have to wait until at least the Six Nations later this season.

“He is hungry,” Pivac added. “He’s just as hungry as if he had one or two caps.

“He desperately wants to play for his country. He knows he has got more to give. He will go back to club rugby and look to force his way back into the (Wales) side.

“I had a good chat with Jonathan. Obviously, he would love to be out there playing.

“We wanted to have a look at Willis (Halaholo) earlier in the autumn but we weren’t able to because of the Covid situation.

“He came off the bench last week and did a lot. We want to see him in his first start to see how he goes.

“We think he has earned the right to start, and Nick played well last week, so we will go with that combination.

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“There is a big difference between dropping and rotating. Jonathan hasn’t been dropped, but we want to have a look at Willis and also Josh (Adams) in midfield.

“So there is no place for Jonathan because of what we wanted to look at in midfield. Hopefully that explains that.”

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