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Having won five successive matches heading into this Autumn internationals, the Wallabies have come crashing back down to earth with defeats to Scotland and England.
They have a fair argument that they are missing a host of key players, especially in their latest clash with as many as eight recognised starters absent.
Quade Cooper and World Rugby Player of the year Nominee Samu Kerevi have been the biggest losses, while they’ll be joined by another nominee Michael Hooper this weekend.
Wales overcame Tier 2 Fiji at the weekend, though made hard work of it. Fiji took the lead early on, and only let go of it with 13 minutes left to play, despite losing a man 24 minutes into the game.
That victory was Wales’ first in five matches now and while it’s their sixth victory of 2021, three have now come with the opposition receiving a red card and two of the others were over Italy and Canada, so that doesn’t bode well for them if Australia can keep all their men on the field for the full 90.
Wales have now won back-to-back matches against Australia for the first time since 1975, which was also the last time they won three on the bounce, and there’s no better time to replicate that feat than against this weakened side on home soil.
With that said, Wayne Pivac has some absentees of his own, with WillGriff John and Will Rowlands both sidelined through head injuries, though the doubtful trio of Tomas Francis, Josh Adams and Aaron Wainwright are all cleared to start this game in what will be a big boost for the hosts.
Australia +4 Handicap
Those two recent wins for Wales in this clash came by narrow three and four point margins, while the Wallabies had won 13 clashes in a row prior to that.
The market has the hosts as roughly four point favourites for this game, which is interesting when considering they haven’t beaten Australia by more than that margin in any of the last 32 meetings going back to 1981.
While this is a weakened visiting side, they still possess a lot of danger with wingers Andrew Kellaway, who’s been nominated for World Rugby breakthrough star of the year alongside Wales’ Louis Rees-Zammit, and Filipo Daugunu, while Tupou’s return to the side should shore up their scrum.
It’s not been a positive visit so far for Dave Rennie’s men, though they’ll be determined to leave on a high and while they may not necessarily get over the line, they should manage to keep this one close and we’ll take them on the handicap.
AUSTRALIA +4 HANDICAP
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