Deflated Wales to push Wallabies hard


Wales newcomer Josh Macleod believes they are ready for the challenge from Australia after some “very honest” conversations following a humiliating loss to Georgia.

Wales will end the international year – a year marked by home defeats to Georgia and Italy – on Saturday (AEDT Sunday) by aiming for a fourth successive victory over the Wallabies, who are eager to complete their own European tour disappointingly beautiful.

But the squad of players, head coach Wayne Pivac and his staff are under huge pressure following a result which Wales skills specialist Neil Jenkins has described as one of the worst days. darkest in his country.

Macleod made his Test debut in the 13-12 loss but is again likely to be involved in Wales’ Matchday 23 against Australia.

Pivac names his squad on Thursday, with a possible recall of world record holder Alun Wyn Jones headlining that selection.

And No.8 Taulupe Faletau is set to make his 100th appearance for Wales and the British and Irish Lions as Pivac is set to rely heavily on experience.

Six expected starters – Jones, Faletau, full-back Leigh Halfpenny, center George North, hooker Ken Owens and captain Justin Tipuric – have 626 Welsh caps between them.

Wales, however, have won just three games in 11 starts this year, and even success against an injured Australia might not be enough for Pivac’s survival.

But there is also a piercing spotlight on Welsh Rugby Union chiefs, who must decide whether a coaching change is the right answer just 10 months from a World Cup.

Wales gave an account of the Georgia debacle on Monday, and Scarlets striker Macleod said: “The conversations were very honest.

“It was a good day and we got a lot out of it. I think we wiped that slate clean and now we’re pushing really hard for Australia.

“As a team we were massively frustrated and disappointed with the overall result, but as Toby (Faletau) mentioned after the game, we will stick together – management, players and staff.

“We’ve put Georgia to bed and all the disappointment that comes with it, and we’ll go forward this week with a positive attitude.

“Naturally everyone says there will be a reaction after a loss like that. Come on Saturday, I’m sure whoever takes the pitch will be ready.”

Macleod’s first selection was the only feel-good story to emerge for Wales as Georgia took center stage in Cardiff.

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