Wales set to make shock number 10 selection and give debut to Josh Hathaway

Josh Hathaway is set to start on the wing for Wales
-Credit: (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency Ltd)

Josh Hathaway is set to be handed his first Wales cap against Australia this Saturday, with Ben Thomas in line for a first Test start at fly-half in Sydney.

Warren Gatland will name his team to face the Wallabies at midnight, with Gloucester wing Hathaway set to make his first appearance for his country after a breakthrough season with the Kingsholm club.

The 20-year-old from Aberystwyth has previously represented both Wales and England at age-grade level, but has now firmly nailed his colours to the mast ahead of his first outing for Wales.

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He'll complete a back-three of Rio Dyer and Liam Williams, with the latter moving back to full-back in place of Cam Winnett after starting the Twickenham defeat to South Africa on the wing.

Elsewhere in the backline, Cardiff duo Ellis Bevan and Mason Grady will be trusted to keep hold of the nine and 12 jerseys, with Arms Park team-mate Thomas linking up between the duo in his third cap for Wales - replacing Scarlets outside-half Sam Costelow.

Having featured off the bench twice in 2021, this will be Thomas' first start for Wales and just his second appearance in the 10 jersey after a season spent with Cardiff largely at inside centre.

Elsewhere, Owen Watkin will continue to build upon the fledgling partnership with Grady in midfield, with the Ospreys man set to be named at outside centre.

Should he start in the pack, Aaron Wainwright will win his 50th cap for his country. He would also be one of the few starters from Wales' 40-6 win over Australia in Lyon to start again at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

As well as full-back Williams, Wainwright and loose-head prop Gareth Thomas are the only other of Wales' starting XV from that September night in France who are in contention to start this weekend.

It's a similar story for the Wallabies, with the trio of James Slipper, Rob Valetini and Andrew Kellaway set to be the only survivors from the nadir of Eddie Jones' short-lived and farcical second spell in charge of the Wallabies.

Instead, new coach Joe Schmidt is set to hand out a number of debuts - with six new faces likely to feature in the Wallabies' first Test since their early exit from last year's World Cup.

With both sides wearing the scars of war both on and off the pitch, there's a growing sense that this tour - with both seemingly keen to avoid the favourites tag - could be crucial to helping turn around the fortunes of both ailing nations.