Bernard Foley
Bernard Foley kicked all of Australia's points in their Pool A win over Wales at the 2015 World Cup Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The 2016 autumn international Test series officially gets underway on Saturday afternoon (5 November) as Wales host Australia at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. This is the first meeting between the two sides since the final Pool A match of last year's World Cup at Twickenham, where fly-half Bernard Foley kicked all 15 points as the Wallabies, temporarily reduced to 13 men after the interval, held on to seal a quarter-final date with Scotland.

Where to watch

Wales vs Australia gets underway at 14.30 GMT and can be viewed live on BBC One HD, with coverage set to begin half an hour before kick-off. Fans can follow the game on the BBC Sport website and commentary will also be available on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.


Much was inevitably made of Wales' 12-6 win over South Africa back in November 2014, a gutsy triumph that ended a wretched run of 22 consecutive defeats against the southern hemisphere's big three. They have not beaten any of those giants since, however, losing a World Cup quarter-final to the Springboks and seeing their sequence of losses against the mighty All Blacks extended to 29 in a row with a comprehensive 3-0 summer whitewash in New Zealand. That particular run stretches all the way back to 1953.

Wales' recent record against Australia is hardly anything to shout about, either. Not since November 2008 have they managed to topple the Wallabies and each of the last 11 meetings have ended in defeat. Their latest attempt at ending that streak will come with experienced attack coach Rob Howley taking the reins once again after Warren Gatland, who guided his side to second place in this year's Six Nations tournament, stepped down for the season following his re-appointment as head coach of the British and Irish Lions.

Liam Williams
Liam Williams has lost his battle to be fit in time for Australia clash Stu Forster/Getty Images

Skipper Sam Warburton is also absent after suffering from a fractured cheekbone and neck problems, with Justin Tipuric starting at seven and prop Gethin Jenkins assuming captain's responsibilities on his 132nd appearance. Leigh Halfpenny will take over goal-kicking duties from Dan Biggar in his first international outing since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in a pre-World Cup warm-up clash with Italy in September 2015. George North, Jamie Roberts, Luke Charteris and Ross Moriarty will play after Aviva Premiership clubs agreed to a one-off "gesture of flexibility" regarding releasing players for a Test that falls outside of the usual international window.

Scarlets full-back Liam Williams is sidelined with a hamstring problem despite the team selection being delayed to allow him every chance to recover, while Toby Faletau is out with a knee issue and Alun Wyn Jones has not been considered for selection following the death of his father. Dan Lydiate and Bradley Davies return to a much-changed pack, Moriarty switches to number eight and Scott Cuthbert is preferred to Hallam Amos on the wing. Wales' experienced starting XV boasts no fewer than 802 total caps. Rory Thornton has been suffering from back spasms, meaning that Cory Hill joins fellow prospective debutant Sam Davies on the bench.

David Pocock
David Pocock will wear number six for the first time in Cardiff on Saturday Stu Forster/Getty Images

As for Australia, very much in New Zealand's shadow over the past year with a runners-up berth at the World Cup followed by a second-place finish at the recent Rugby Championship, the influential David Pocock will line up at blindside flanker for the very first time in his career as Dean Mumm serves a one-week suspension for striking Brodie Retallick in last month's 37-10 loss to the All Blacks.

Tevita Kuridrani starts alongside Reece Hodge at centre with Samu Kerevi sidelined due to an ankle injury. Israel Folau remains at 15 as Scott Fardy and James Slipper are promoted to replacement duty. Uncapped hooker Tolu Latu also comes into the squad with James Hanson having undergone surgery on a broken jaw and Tom Robertson drops out altogether. Scrum-half Will Genia has not been released by Stade Francais.


Wales: 15. Leigh Halfpenny, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. Jonathan Davies, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11. George North, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Rhys Webb; 1. Gethin Jenkins (c), 2. Ken Owens, 3. Samson Lee, 4. Bradley Davies, 5. Luke Charteris, 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: 16. Scott Baldwin, 17. Nicky Smith, 18. Tomas Francis, 19. Cory Hill, 20. James King, 21. Gareth Davies, 22. Sam Davies, 23. Hallam Amos.

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny is back in the fold for Wales Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Australia: 15. Israel Folau, 14. Dane Haylett-Petty, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Reece Hodge, 11. Henry Speight, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Nick Phipps; 1. Scott Sio, 2. Stephen Moore (c), 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Adam Coleman, 6. David Pocock, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Lopeti Timani.

Replacements: 16. Tolu Latu, 17. James Slipper, 18. Allan Alaalatoa, 19. Rob Simmons, 20. Scott Fardy, 21. Nick Frisby, 22. Quade Cooper, 23. Sefa Naivalu.

What the coaches say:

Rob Howley: "When you look back at that day at Twickenham, we got over their line three times. I have mentioned about having sleepless nights, post-World Cup. To get over their line three times and not get the ball down was frustrating. We have looked at areas we want to involve and improve and you certainly saw those in New Zealand and we want to continue.

"The big thing for us on Saturday is having composure and being clinical, particularly when we get into those areas which we did 12 months ago. The longer we have the ball, the longer they don't, and that is a challenge in itself."

Rob Howley
Rob Howley is in his second spell as interim head coach of Wales David Rogers/Getty Images

Michael Cheika: "I don't know if anyone is thinking about 12 in a row at a time when we have not won as many games as we should have this year. It has not popped up on anyone's radar. All that stuff is the past. It gives you nothing on Saturday, and it gives them nothing. It is the two teams on match day putting what they consider to be their best rugby forward. The better team will win, and that is what it boils down to. The other stuff is nice fluff around the outside. You have got to think about what is next, not what is behind you. That is what we are doing."