Wales wait on Wainwright fitness for Australia finale

Date:

Men’s international friendly: Australia v Wales

Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne Date: Saturday, 13 July Kick off: 10:45 BST

Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds, the BBC Sport website and app, plus live text commentary, followed by report and reaction on the BBC Sport website and app.

Number eight Aaron Wainwright is a major doubt for the second Test against Australia in Melbourne but Wales say they have not officially ruled him out.

Wainwright, 26, was Wales’ leading performer during his 50th international in the 25-16 first Test defeat in Sydney but limped off in the final minute with a leg injury.

“We’re waiting for further assessment,” said Wales assistant coach Rob Howley.

“He was outstanding in the game. His carries and footwork got us on the front foot on many an occasion.

“So hopefully [he’ll be available]. But we’re waiting for that assessment to come back from the medical team.”

Wainwright has started the last eight Tests in the number eight jersey and arguably been Wales’ player of the 2023-24 season.

Wales also have concerns over full-back Liam Williams, prop Gareth Thomas and wing Josh Hathaway, while prop Dillon Lewis and lock Ben Carter are battling to be fit after missing the the game in Sydney.

“Liam will hopefully be available for selection, we’re waiting on him,” said Howley.

“Gareth Thomas had a bit of a dead leg, he was back in training today. Josh Hathaway is being monitored, he had a bump on his arm.

“Dillon and Ben Carter trained this morning with us. Hopefully those players who came off, fingers crossed, will be available for selection.”

Warren Gatland’s side are looking to end an eight-match international losing streak that stretches back nine months.

Wainwright, Williams and Thomas accounted for more than half the caps in the Wales starting side for the first match of the series.

“I think you trust the squad,” said Howley.

“We’ve picked them to come here and give them an experience of Test match rugby.

“If one of them is unfortunate not to be available for selection, we back whoever will step in.

“Over the period of time in the Six Nations, we’ve made changes. Self-belief and confidence is huge when there’s a lack of experience because of age.

“At 22 or 23, you give them that opportunity to go out and perform.

“There’s a balance, but hopefully the players are available and we have a consistent selection because it’s a short tour.”

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