Liam Wright to captain Australia against Wales

Joe Schmidt has named his first Wallabies matchday squad
Joe Schmidt has named his first Wallabies matchday squad
©Steve Haag

Australia head coach Joe Schmidt has named an inexperienced matchday squad captained by Liam Wright for the first Test against Wales to be played in Sydney on Saturday.

Wright has already captained Queensland Reds since 2020 and now will have a chance to lead the Wallabies for the first time. He is joined by Rob Valetini and Fraser McReight at the back row.

The most experienced James Slipper will be part of the front row that also has hooker Matt Faessler making his first start for Australia along with Taniela Tupou. Debutant Jeremy Williams will be part of the second row that also has returning Lukhan Salakaia-Loto while Noah Lolesio has been handed the kicking responsibility forming halfback partnership with Jake Gordon.

Queensland centre Josh Flook, who is also set to make his debut will join Hunter Paisami at midfield while Andrew Kellaway and Filipo Daugunu are the preferred wings with Tom Wright at fullback.

Isaac Kailea, Angus Blyth, Charlie Cale, Tom Lynagh and Dylan Pietsch are set to make their debut for the Wallabies when they come off the bench.

“At the moment, everything’s pretty short-term, including our preparation. We’ve had four trainings really,” Schmidt said.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Liam, but the same with all the others in the leadership group and the players in general. They’ve been a super group to work with.

“It’s a really interdependent game, rugby. It’s one of the things I love about it but it does mean that your preparation has to be nailed on pretty well if you’re going to get the cohesion on a Saturday.

“While I can’t guarantee the cohesion, I think guys like Josh and the rest of the squad, I can pretty much guarantee the effort that will be there.”

Australia XV: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (c), 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Jeremy Williams, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Matt Faessler, 1 James Slipper

Reserves: 16 Billy Pollard, 17 Isaac Kailea, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Charlie Cale, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Tom Lynagh, 23 Dylan Pietsch