Wales v Australia – Ospreys centre Joe Hawkins makes his debut against Wallabies

Joe Hawkins scores a try in Wales Under-20s' win over Scotland in February
Joe Hawkins was a try scorer in the win of Wales Under-20s over Scotland in February
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

Joe Hawkins, Ospreys' centre, will make his Wales debut against Australia during the final Autumn Nations series match.

Hawkins, 20 years old, replaces Owen Watkin. Lock Alun Wyn Smith is recalled in Ben Carter's place.

Wayne Pivac, the under-fire Wales coach, has made six changes to the team that fell to Georgia 13-12.

Leigh Halfpenny (Rio Dyer), Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Anscombe, and Taulupe Faletau have replaced Louis Rees -Zammit Josh Adams, Rhys Priestland, and Josh Macleod.

Rees-Zammit from England, Nick Tompkins and Christ Tshiunza are all unavailable due to the international match.

Hawkins, who played 21 games for Ospreys, including six starts, is now the fifth uncapped player Wales will be using this autumn, following Dyer, Sam Costelows, Macleod, and Jenkins.

Hawkins, who graduated from the Wales Under-20s program, will be the 31st debutant in Pivac's three year reign. This follows a low point last week when Georgia lost its first game.

Hawkins, the son and former Aberavon centre Dai Hawkins', is one nine Ospreys who are in the starting team.

Pivac stated, “There has been an injury to Owen that gives an opportunity for young Joe Hawkins.”

He's excited. He's been at camp training for the last month. He's learned a lot, and he looks good in training.

Jones is the world-record holder of the cap and will be playing his 167th international. Jones has not played for Wales since March's Six Nations home defeat by Italy.

The 37-year-old was substituted in three Tests against South Africa and the first autumn defeat against New Zealand but was not selected for the squads for Argentina, Georgia and New Zealand.

Alun Wyn Jones won his 154th Wales cap in the opening autumn international against New Zealand
Alun Wyn Jones was awarded his 154th Wales cap during the first autumn international against New Zealand. He has also played 12 Tests with the British and Irish Lions.

Halfback Halfpenny, who was originally brought on to replace Georgia in July 2021, returns for his first international match.

Adams and Priestland are preferable to fly-half Anscombe and wing dyer, which both fall to the bench.

Pivac has chosen to gain experience with Jones, Faletau and Halfpenny as well as centre George North, halfpenny, center George North, Hooker Ken Owens, and captain Justin Tipuric. All three are over 30 and have 626 Wales caps between them. This is 200 more than what the combined Australia starting team had.

Tomas Francis, Ospreys' prop, is recalled to Ospreys after he missed the Georgia victory and Argentina win.

Pivac stated, “Some players have returned that weren't involved last week.”

“Certainly, it's a side that we've chosen to get the result we are desperately seeking.

“They've bonded well at the beginning of the week, and we look forward seeing where we go.”

Faletau is back at number eight, and he will make his 100th international appearance.

“Toby [Faletau] “Is a world-class player, and it's testament his hard work and dedication that he makes his 100th Test appearance,” said Pivac.

“I know that it will be a proud moment for him and his entire family.”

Under pressure Pivac

After defeats at home to Italy and Georgia in the same year, Pivac's position has been under scrutiny.

“The entire squad is very disappointed by last week's performance,” stated Pivac.

“It's not what anyone wanted. It's not what everyone expected. We have gone through a review.

“We know exactly what went wrong, and we have the right steps to fix it this weekend.”

Three of the 11 internationals will be won by Wales in 2022. Australia's record stands at four wins in 13 matches.

Australia are currently suffering from injuries and will play a fifth international in five week's time. Wales is looking to win a record fourth consecutive match against the Wallabies.

Pivac said, “Clearly, this will be an up-grade.”

“We're playing an Australian team that will be making a lot of changes due to injuries in the last month. However, what we do know is that Australia is a dangerous side no matter which team they choose.

“We've seen it with the close games during this autumn series. Therefore, we expect a very hard battle.

Wales: Halfpenny; Cuthbert, North, Hawkins, Dyer; Anscombe, T Williams, G Thomas, Owens, D Lewis, Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Morgan, Tipuric (capt), Faletau.

Replacements: Elias, R Jones, Francis, Carter, Macleod, Hardy, Priestland, Adams.

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