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South Africa 31 - 30 Wales

Dunning returns for Wallabies

Wales v Australia

By Ben Blackmore.   Last Updated: 23/11/05 1:48pm

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International Match, Millennium Stadium, Saturday November 26, KO 17.00

Australia have made just one change for their Millennium Stadium showdown with Wales, strengthening the side that won at Ireland with the inclusion of Matt Dunning.

The experienced prop was injured during the Wallabies' defeat to England, but initial fears of serious injury proved to be unfounded, with Dunning now ready to resume in the front row.

"It was obviously a scary experience. You have to be careful because being able to walk in the future is more important than playing," said the Waratahs man.

"Obviously I took my time when I started scrummaging again in training for the first time but I'm feeling good and there won't be any gremlins on Saturday."

Greg Holmes is the man to drop to the bench, which also features replacement scrum half Chris Whitaker who is preferred to Matt Henjak.

Two-try hero Drew Mitchell and Mark Gerrard continue on the wings for Eddie Jones' men, consigning Wendell Sailor to another start on the sidelines.

Saturday's encounter will be a special moment for veteran skipper George Gregan, who leads his men out for the 50th time.

Matthew Watkins has been selected in the Wales starting XV to face Australia at the Millennium Stadium.

Watkins' inclusion comes at the expense of full back Lee Byrne, whose steady performance against South Africa was not enough to keep him in Mike Ruddock's team for the Wallabies clash.

Skipper Gareth Thomas reverts to his favoured full back role to accommodate Watkins, after being caught out of position on occasions against the Springboks.

Elsewhere, the starting line-up remains the same as a week ago, with Luke Charteris not involved after he injured himself on the day of last week's clash.

Ian Gough will continue at lock in his absence, after he produced a solid display in the South Africa defeat.

"The rationale for selection was to minimise the changes this week and build on the performance against South Africa," said Ruddock.

"We decided to sacrifice the left booted kicking option offered by Lee (Byrne) in favour of playing Alfie in his preferred position and giving Matthew Watkins his chance at centre.

"We felt we needed as much experience as possible in the back line and have opted for Matthew and Sonny Parker as the centre pairing.

"We wanted to get a good look at Matthew from the start of a high level international ahead of the coming Six Nations defence.

"The other option was to bring in Ceri Sweeney but the thinking there is that Ceri has been able to make such a positive impact from the bench that we want to try to keep that weapon in our armoury."

Wales Team: 15-Gareth Thomas (captain); 14-Dafydd James, 13-Matthew Watkins, 12-Sonny Parker, 11-Shane Williams; 10-Stephen Jones, 9-Gareth Cooper; 8-Michael Owen, 7-Martyn Williams, 6-Colin Charvis, 5-Rob Sidoli, 4-Ian Gough, 3-Chris Horsman, 2-Rhys Thomas, 1-Duncan Jones.

Replacements: 16-Mefin Davies, 17-Adam Jones, 18-Ian Evans, 19-Jonathan Thomas, 20-Michael Phillips, 21-Ceri Sweeney, 22-Lee Byrne.

Australia team: 15-Latham; 14-M Gerrard, 13-L Tuqiri, 12-M Turinui, 11-D Mitchell, 10-M Rogers, 9-G Gregan (capt); 1-M Dunning, 2-B Cannon, 3-D Fitter, 4-H McMeniman, 5-N Sharpe, 6-J Roe, 7-P Waugh, 8-G Smith

Replacements: T Polota-Nau, A Baxter, M Chisholm, S Fava, C Whitaker, L Johansson, W Sailor

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