Wales v Australia: Ben Donaldson handed first fly-half start for Wallabies in Cardiff

Ben Donaldson made his Australia debut in their surprise defeat in Italy
Ben Donaldson made his Australia debut in their surprise defeat in Italy
Autumn Nations Series: Wales v Australia
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 26 November Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Cymru and updates on BBC Radio Wales; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Ben Donaldson will start at fly-half for the first time for Australia in Saturday's final Autumn Nations series match against Wales in Cardiff.

The NSW Waratahs playmaker gets his chance as Bernard Foley is unavailable as the game is not in World Rugby's international window and his club side is outside Australia.

Lock Will Skelton is likewise absent.

The Wallabies have a lengthy injury list which includes star flanker Michael Hooper.

Hooper suffered concussion symptoms after playing in the 13-10 defeat against Ireland last weekend.

Hunter Paisami, Dave Porecki, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Andrew Kellaway and Taniela Tupou were all injured in Dublin and miss the match.

Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Izack Rodda and Matt Phillip are also injured or unavailable, which left the Wallabies with 25 fit players from which to select their 23-man squad to face Wayne Pivac's side, who are looking to bounce back from their shock defeat to Georgia.

Australia coach Dave Rennie make seven changes to his starting XV in all.

Donaldson will partner with club captain Jake Gordon, who starts at scrum-half for the side's final Test of 2022.

A new-look back row sees Langi Gleeson make his first Test start at number eight, while Fraser McReight comes in at openside flanker and Jed Holloway at blindside.

James Slipper will lead the side from loose-head prop in his 127th appearance for his country, partnering with long-time Brumbies team-mates Folau Fainga'a and Allan Alaalatoa in the front row.

Nick Frost continues his partnership with Cadeyrn Neville in the second row.

Melbourne Rebels' Reece Hodge starts a Test at inside centre for the first time since 2016, partnering Len Ikitau, while Jordan Petaia starts at right wing, Tom Wright at full-back and Mark Nawaqanitawase completing the back three.

Rebels tight-head prop Sam Talakai is in line to make his Wallabies debut off the bench, as Australia seek a first win at the Principality Stadium since 2017.

"Ben (Donaldson) has had a great year," Rennie said. "He's been impressive at training around his skillset and detail and has earned his opportunity to start for his country this week.

"We're well aware of a Wales side that will be looking to respond after last week but we're equally as motivated to finish our season on a positive note here in Cardiff."

This will be the fifth Test in five weeks for Australia and the 14th international they have played since July, with four wins and nine defeats so far.

Australia: Tom Wright; Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Reece Hodge, Mark Nawaqanitawase; Ben Donaldson, Jake Gordon; James Slipper (c), Folau Fainga'a, Allan Alaalatoa, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Jed Holloway, Fraser McReight, Langi Gleeson.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Tom Robertson, Sam Talakai, Ned Hanigan, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Noah Lolesio, Jock Campbell.

Banner Image Reading Around the BBC - BlueFooter - Blue

Top Stories

Also in Sport

Elsewhere on the BBC