Wales lock Beard to win 50th cap in Australia World Cup test

Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

VERSAILLES, France: Adam Beard will win his 50th cap when unbeaten Wales bid to further damage Australia´s hopes of reaching the Rugby World Cup knockout stages in their Pool C match in Lyon on Sunday.

Beard, 27, beds down in the second row with Will Rowlands, who was so impressive in their opening 32-26 win over Fiji a fortnight ago.

Flanker Jac Morgan skippers the side, one of three players who will have started in all three pool matches.Veteran No 8 Taulupe Faletau and wing Louis Rees-Zammit are the other two players to start in both the Fiji game and then the 28-8 win over Portugal last Saturday. Head coach Warren Gatland has recalled several players who were rested for the Portugal match. Aaron Wainwright returns at blindside flanker to complete the back row. Josh Adams at wing and Liam Williams at full-back join Rees-Zammit in the Wales back three. Nick Tompkins and George North continue their centre partnership. Gareth Davies is named at scrum-half with Dan Biggar returning at fly-half. With Australia having lost to Fiji, a win over the Welsh is desperately needed to ease their fears of becoming the first Wallabies side to fail to reach the last eight. Gatland guided the Welsh to two World Cup semi-finals in his first spell in charge and the 60-year-old New Zealander is satisfied with how this campaign has begun and the confidence it has engendered.

“We´re happy with our position going into this game. We have two wins and ten points,” Gatland said in a Welsh Rugby Union statement.

“There´s a confidence among this group and we´ve had a good edge to training this week.“Every game in the World Cup is tough, the stakes are high, and this will be no different.

“Australia have talented players and we know they will want to come out and put in a performance this weekend.”

Team (15-1)

Liam Williams; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Taulupe Faletau, Jac Morgan (capt), Aaron Wainwright; Adam Beard, Will Rowlands; Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Gareth Thomas.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Corey Domachowski, Henry Thomas, Dafydd Jenkins, Taine Basham, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Rio Dyer Coach: Warren Gatland (NZL).