The radical selections which could breathe life into Wales' attack

-Credit: (Image: Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans Agency)
-Credit: (Image: Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans Agency)


When Wales head Down Under this week there are a number of areas they will need to address if they are to break a seven-Test losing streak.

The set-piece will be high on the agenda, as will cutting out the sheer volume of unforced errors, but taking the attack up a notch or two will also be a priority. Wales were really gutsy against South Africa last Saturday and were able to put the Springboks under pressure but lacked a cutting edge with ball in hand.

They manufactured the odd try-scoring opportunity which they failed to take, but on the whole there was a distinct lack of creativity with ball in hand. Despite finishing the Six Nations with a Wooden Spoon, Wales' attack actually wasn't bad during the Six Nations as they scored the joint second-highest amount of tries, with 12.

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But against the world champions they created very little, failing to score a single point during the second half. Of course, that is partly down to the forward dominance of the world champions but it will surely be an area of concern for Warren Gatland and his attack coach Alex King.

When Wales face Australia in Sydney on July 6 they will need to score tries if they are to start the two-Test series with a victory. You wouldn't expect Australia to have the same level of forward dominance as the Springboks but there are a few personnel changes Gatland may consider to add more of a cutting edge behind the scrum.

Cardiff playmaker Ben Thomas is someone who has the skillset to add a different dimension to the Wales back-line, although he is untested as an international. Thomas is a lovely footballer with a tremendous passing game, tons of peripheral vision and an accurate kicking game.

He is a creative player who can manipulate defences and put others into space. Thomas is someone Wales need to seriously consider and it would be a surprise if he didn't get a start in Australia.

The question is where to play him? There is a school of thought that he could be utilised as a Southern Hemisphere-style second five-eighth but is his defence up to the physical rigours of an international centre?

Time will tell why Gatland has previously mentioned his desire to play the 25-year-old at outside-half. Wherever Gatland decides to play him Thomas is definitely someone who can unlock defences and deserves an opportunity for Wales.

If Thomas were to play at 12 he could certainly get more out of Mason Grady in attack should his Cardiff team-mate move out to the 13 channel. A midfield partnership of Thomas and Grady certainly has more bite to it than if Owen Watkin were partnering Grady but Wales would need to weigh up whether they'd lose too much defensively without the Ospreys centre.

Cameron Winnett enjoyed a fine Six Nations campaign but he was exposed a few times against South Africa. The up-and-coming Cardiff star is still only 21 and has plenty of time to develop but perhaps but there's an argument to move Liam Williams back to full-back for the time being.

The 33-year-old enjoyed a fine game at Twickenham and his aerial ability is definitely something Wales missed during the Six Nations. Winnett is a really tidy footballer with a low error count who has been well used as a secondary distributor but he doesn't have the attacking X factor of Williams.

The Kubota Spears man is still one of the deadliest broken field runners in the game and can conjure up attacking opportunities out of nothing. The other radical option would be to put faith in Josh Hathaway from the word go.

This is the 20-year-old's first time in an international environment but he has serious class about him and has been outstanding for Gloucester this season. Hathaway has top-end gas and is one of the deadliest finishers in the English Premiership.

Probably due to the fact he played a lot of his age-grade rugby at outside-half Hathaway is also a capable playmaker and distributor. His defence is a work on but aerially he is relatively sound but more than anything he could add some much-needed spark to the Wales back-three and some serious finishing prowess which has been missing since Louis Rees-Zammit's switch to the NFL.

Wales are on a losing run of seven straight defeats and if they want to turn that on its head this summer they must start thinking outside the box.