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Injury-plagued Wales will be ready for Wallabies: Coach

November 16, 2021 GMT

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Wales does not expect tight five players WillGriff John and Will Rowlands to be available to face Australia this weekend after taking head knocks.

“It’s unlikely they are going to be right,” forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys said on Tuesday.

Both came off against Fiji on Sunday.

John was called up only that morning after tighthead prop Tomas Francis suffered his own head knock on Friday in training. Francis could be available to play the Wallabies on Saturday at Principality Stadium, Humphreys said.

Josh Adams, given an experimental start at outside center, withdrew after hurting a calf in the warmup. Humphreys said he will be a last-minute call, along with back-rower Aaron Wainwright, who missed the Fiji game after injuring a shoulder against South Africa.

After three bruising tests in a row against New Zealand (lost), South Africa (lost) and Fiji (won), Humphreys said Wales is reducing its physical load in training this week “to try and get as much petrol in the tank as we can for the weekend.”

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With John and Francis adding to all the injuries at tighthead prop, the coach said they were virtually at their end of their resources there.

Dillon Lewis finished the Fiji match, playing 75 minutes with issues with his feet. “An incredible job,” Humphreys said.

Wyn Jones, the British and Irish Lions loosehead, could yet come in to cover tighthead. Jones hasn’t played for Wales this autumn because he hasn’t been considered fit enough.

“Wyn has made significant progress over this period of time,” Humphreys added. ”He’s worked hard and he understands he wasn’t where he needed to be, but he’s desperate to get back there.”

Rowlands has filled in since Alun Wyn Jones was injured against New Zealand, and he looks like being replaced by Ben Carter or Seb Davies, “simply because our resources are pretty down to the bare bones there,” the coach said.

He was also complimentary of Christ Tshiunza, the 19-year-old lock who was given a 10-minute debut against Fiji, and looks set to get another run.

Despite 15 front-line forwards out, alone, Humphreys insisted he wasn’t frustrated in these autumn tests.

“I think it’s been brilliant for us in terms of finding out about people who can add to our depth,” he said. ”I don’t see it as being frustrating at all. Those injuries that we’ve had have forced players to play who probably wouldn’t have played much.

“If Alun Wyn had stayed fit all the way through, then Will Rowlands doesn’t get as much time as he has and Will has been outstanding for us.

“So rather than look at the negatives of ‘We’re missing all these people,’ and has it maybe stopped us winning against, particularly, South Africa, I think the bigger picture is telling us we’ve got a team that can fight toe to toe with all those injuries and that’s a huge positive for us.

“The tanks right now are low, but I know that come the weekend we are going to be right and we are going to be ready for the fight.”

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