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Wales rearrange back row for second Test after Dragons hit by Wainwright blow

Wales rearrange back row for second Test after Dragons hit by Wainwright blow

LOW: Aaron Wainwright suffered a hamstring injury for Wales in Sydney (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

WALES have deployed Taine Plumtree at number eight for the second Test against Australia after the blow of losing talisman Aaron Wainwright.

The Dragons reserve limped off in the final minute of the 25-16 first test defeat to the Wallabies in Sydney.

Wainwright will miss the chance for revenge in Melbourne and the friendly against the Queensland Reds, with the Rodney Parade club having to regroup.

The 26-year-old from Bassaleg is likely to be out for several months as the United Rugby Championship kicks off on September 21.

Wales were already short of ball carriers and now need others to step up if they are to end their eight-match losing streak.

The Dragons’ player, arguably Warren Gatland’s player of the season, was typically influential in Sydney, making 17 runs for 144 metres and beating five defenders, as well as making 16 unerring tackles.

Plumtree moves up to eighth and Cardiff’s James Botham comes in at blindside, with Mackenzie Martin being called to the bench.

“It’s disappointing for him and for us, he was excellent last week,” Gatland said of Wainwright.

“One of the things I’ve been challenging over the last few months is that I feel like there’s another level to it.

“As a player, you would see really good touches from him, but he could come in and out of games.

“You’ve seen in the last few games that there’s been a real improvement in terms of his performance.”

RECALL: Full-back Cameron Winnett starts for Wales against Australia (Image: PA)

Cameron Winnett also comes into the squad at full-back, with Liam Williams moving to the wing to replace Josh Hathaway, who suffered an elbow injury on his Test debut.

Winger Rio Dyer is the only Dragons player to be named in the squad, with forwards Ben Carter and Matthew Screech out and having to settle for facing the Reds in Brisbane next Friday.

Coach Gatland said he expected an even tougher test from the Wallabies, who began their campaign under new coach Joe Schmidt with a deserved victory.

“We are reviewing our processes, building on what worked well and improving areas that need improvement,” Gatland said.

“We expect Australia to step up another level this weekend and we know we need to do the same.

“We want to start well and make sure we are disciplined and precise from the start. Then it’s about keeping the arm wrestling going throughout.”

Wales: Cameron Winnett (Cardiff); Liam Williams (Kubota Spears), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Mason Grady (Cardiff), Rio Dyer (Dragons); Ben Thomas (Cardiff), Ellis Bevan (Cardiff); Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), Dewi Lake (Ospreys, captain), Archie Griffin (Bath), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter), Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter), James Botham (Cardiff), Tommy Reffell (Leicester), Taine Plumtree (Scarlets).

Replacements: Evan Lloyd (Cardiff), Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets), Harri O’Connor (Scarlets), Cory Hill (Secom Rugguts), Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff), Kieran Hardy (Ospreys), Sam Costelow (Scarlets), Nick Tompkins (Saracens).