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'Battered and bruised' Wales looking for third win in a row over Australia

By AAP
Wayne Pivac /PA

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Jonathan Humphreys acknowledges that injury-ravaged Wales are “battered and bruised” as a punishing Autumn Nations Series campaign nears its conclusion with Saturday’s clash against Australia in Cardiff.

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The casualty count is more than 20, and although assistant coach Humphreys admits that back-drop has proved challenging, it will not remotely hamper Wales’ bid for a third successive victory over Australia.

“There is a team here who are battered and bruised off the back of the most challenging autumn that they have ever had,” he said.

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“We are just thinking about how we get the tank off empty to put up a show against Australia and go and win that game.

“Clearly, we would have wanted more people available to us, but from my point of view it has turned out very similar to the last autumn, where we found out a lot about people. There has been a lot of positives.”

Injury issues that have accompanied Wales every step of the way show no sign of abating.

Humphreys says it is “unlikely” that forwards Will Rowlands and WillGriff John will be fit for Saturday after suffering head injuries during Wales’ 38-23 victory over Fiji last weekend.

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Tomas Francis, who was concussed in training last week, may be fit. Wing Josh Adams, who was withdrawn from the starting line-up just before kick-off against Fiji due to a calf muscle issue, is also being monitored, along with No.8 Aaron Wainwright (shoulder).

A late decision will be made on all three.

Wales went into their autumn schedule of Tests against New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia without injured star names like Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi.

Then key personnel such as captain Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Ross Moriarty and Taulupe Faletau were ruled out injured after the campaign started; centre Uilisi Halaholo tested positive for Covid-19 and Liam Williams was unavailable to face New Zealand while he recovered from appendix surgery.

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Wales’ tighthead prop position would be of major concern if John and Francis are ruled out, leaving only Dillon Lewis as a solitary specialist in that area without reinforcements being summoned.

Humphreys added: “Dillon going on at the weekend (against Fiji) playing 75 minutes and he hadn’t trained all week because of some issues with both feet, I thought he was incredible.

“It is a testing time, but I know that come the weekend we are going to be right and we are going to be ready for the fight, which it is going to be, against one of the best teams in the world.”

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