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Australia v Wales: Warren Gatland brings in Botham and Winnett

The defeat in Sydney was Wales’ eighth international loss on the bounce and they have not won a Test match since beating 2023 World Cup pool-stage opponents Georgia last October.

Wales have also slipped to 11th in the world rankings, their lowest ever position.

Another defeat against Australia would leave Wales one short of their worst Test run, a 10-game sequence from 2002 to 2003 under New Zealander Steve Hansen.

Gatland has a 30% success rate during his second stint as Wales boss, with six wins and 14 defeats in 20 internationals since he took over from Wayne Pivac before the 2023 Six Nations.

“We’re looking forward to getting back out on the pitch this weekend in Melbourne,” said Gatland.

“This week we’ve been going through our processes, building on what worked well and sharpening the areas that need improvement.

“We expect Australia to go up another level this weekend and we know we need to as well.

“We want to start well and make sure we are disciplined and accurate from the off.

“Then it’s about keeping in the arm-wrestle for the duration.”

Wales v Australia: Cameron Winnett; Liam Williams, Owen Watkin, Mason Grady, Rio Dyer; Ben Thomas, Ellis Bevan; Gareth Thomas, Dewi Lake (capt), Archie Griffin, Christ Tshiunza, Dafydd Jenkins, James Botham, Tommy Reffell, Taine Plumtree.

Replacements: Evan Lloyd, Kemsley Mathias, Harri O’Connor, Cory Hill, Mackenzie Martin, Kieran Hardy, Sam Costelow, Nick Tompkins.

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