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James Slipper to captain Wallabies as Liam Wright ruled out of Wales Test

By Finn Morton
Fraser McReight and James Slipper of the Wallabies walk out ahead of Australia Wallabies Captain's Run at Eden Park on September 23, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Last week’s captain Liam Wright will not suit up for the Wallabies on Saturday evening after being ruled out of the second Test against Wales through injury. That change has prompted a backrow reshuffle and an adjustment in the leadership department.


Test veteran James Slipper will captain the Wallabies for the 15th time in Wright’s absence, while backrower enforcer Rob Valetini shifts from No. 8 to blindside flanker. Queenslander Fraser McReight holds onto his place at openside.

Beecroft junior Charlie Cale has been named to start in Wallaby gold for the first time after coming off the bench last time out. Cale was impressive in Super Rugby Pacific with the Brumbies but will want to make the most of this opportunity.

The rest of the forward pack remains unchanged with captain Slipper set to pack down alongside hooker Matt Faessler and the powerful Taniela Tupou in the front row. Western Force skipper Jeremy Williams will partner Lukhan Salakaia-Loto as the two locks once again.

As for the backline, the coaching staff have named unchanged combinations starting with the promising halves partnership of Jake Gordon and Noah Lolesio. Reds’ duo Hunter Paisami and Josh Flook will link up in a midfield that boasts plenty of potential.

Two of last week’s try scorers Filipo Daugunu and Tom Wright will take their place on the left wing and at fullback respectively, while the ever-dangerous Andrew Kellaway rounds out the starting side on the right edge.

On the bench, Josh Nasser – who is the brother of Olympics-bound Australian sevens ace Isabella Nassr – is in line to debut. Langi Gleeson, Nic White and Ben Donaldson also return to the fold after missing out on selection last time out.


“We found out a bit about ourselves last week and are looking forward to learning a bit more on Saturday night,” coach Joe Schmidt said in a statement.

“We’ve worked hard again this week in Melbourne and will be going out to earn the support of those in the stands and those at home on Saturday night.”


Last 5 Meetings

Average Points scored
First try wins
Home team wins

The Wallabies are looking to make it two wins from as many starts after getting the better of Wales 25-16 in Sydney last week. Australia have named a strong side but will face a Welsh outfit eager to snap a disastrous eight-Test losing run.

This match at Melbourne’s AAMI Park will kick off at 7:45 pm AEST on Saturday. Fans in Australia can watch the match on Stan Sport.


Wallabies team to take on Wales in Melbourne

  1. James Slipper (c)
  2. Matt Faessler
  3. Taniela Tupou
  4. Jeremy Williams
  5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
  6. Rob Valetini
  7. Fraser McReight
  8. Charlie Cale
  9. Jake Gordon
  10. Noah Lolesio
  11. Filipo Daugunu
  12. Hunter Paisami
  13. Josh Flook
  14. Andrew Kellaway
  15. Tom Wright


  1. Josh Nasser**
  2. Isaac Kailea
  3. Allan Alaalatoa
  4. Angus Blyth
  5. Langi Gleeson
  6. Nic White
  7. Ben Donaldson
  8. Dylan Pietsch

All Black second row Brodie Retallick joins Jim Hamilton for the latest episode of Walk the Talk, touching on life in Japan, RWC 2023 and the future of All Black rugby. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV


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Wonton 2 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

18 Go to comments
Nick 3 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

14 Go to comments
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