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Rugby Union: Latest Wallabies team news ahead of Wales showdown

Joe Schmidt has waited patiently for his first game as Australia head coach and the New Zealander will finally get to see his Wallabies in action when they take on Wales in Sydney on Saturday.

The Welsh have not won on Australian soil in 55 years and after a poor Six Nations campaign this year, they will need to produce their performance of 2024 to end their wait for victory Down Under.

Here’s a closer look at the Wallabies squad that has been selected ahead of this first of two Test matches against Warren Gatland’s Wales.

. What: Australia v Wales
. Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
. When: 19:45 (AEST), Saturday 6th July 2024
. How to watch: Stan Sport
. Odds: Australia 1.14, Wales 5.50

Schmidt ready to shake things up with new skipper

Reports have suggested Reds skipper Liam Wright is set to lead out the Wallabies against the Welsh in Sydney this weekend.

The 26-year-old has been a talisman for Queensland, with the Reds enjoying another positive season but still falling just short of reaching a Super Rugby Pacific grand final.

If Wright is to become the 89th player to captain the Wallabies, it would be a good line in the sand for a new era under Schmidt following the difficult tenure of Eddie Jones with the men’s national side.

Schmidt on selection

Looking at the wider squad selected for these two Tests against Wales and a clash with Georgia, Schmidt admitted there were some tough calls made.

There were no decisions to be made on Angus Bell, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Max Jorgensen, Rob Leota, Lachlan Lonergan, David Porecki and Blake Schoupp who were unavailable through injury, while Corey Toole is away with Australia’s 7s team ahead of the Olympics in Paris.

Schmidt said he and his management team have been looking at combinations that have been working well in Super Rugby and hope those players can shine against Wales on Saturday.

"There were some very tight selection calls, as there always are when selecting a National Team," Schmidt said in a statement. "The coaching group has looked hard at on-field performances and had ongoing discussions with Super Rugby coaches.

"We’ve combined the observations we’ve made, with some candid discussion and feel that we have some very good players to start working with, while also acknowledging that there are some good players who have missed selection.

“We have a short runway into our first Test, so we’re just keen to get to work and make as much progress as we can over the four days we have in Brisbane.”

Excitement over Lynagh

Reports have also suggested fly-half Tom Lynagh is in line to make this debut for the Wallabies and follow in the footsteps of his father Michael Lynagh.

Lynagh is another player to have impressed at the Reds this year and Saturday would be a great opportunity to see if he is ready to make the step up to Test rugby.

The 21-year-old was being considered by Jones before his departure from the head coach role and now it seems Schmidt will be the man to hand the fly-half his Test debut.

It looks set to be a new-look Wallabies side that will take the field against the Welsh in Sydney, as this Schmidt-era finally gets underway.

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