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Cardiff: Wales coach Warren Gatland believes the Wallabies have shown respect by picking a “fully loaded” side for Saturdays clash in Cardiff and says it would be foolish to write off the struggling Australians.

Gatland, too, has picked a full-strength XV he believes can topple the sixth-ranked Wallabies at Principality Stadium.

Respect: Warren Gatland is remaining wary of the under-pressure Wallabies.

Respect: Warren Gatland is remaining wary of the under-pressure Wallabies.Credit:PA

The man who coached the British and Irish Lions this year has made three changes to the Wales side that beat Scotland 21-10 last Saturday, with Adam Beard now partnering captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row, Tom Francis switching with Dillon Lewis at prop and Josh Adams coming in for Luke Morgan on the wing.

Gatland also opted to retain five-eighth Gareth Anscombe, with 19 Tests to his name, over the more experienced Dan Biggar, who will be on the bench.

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That was the most surprising selection of the day, but Gatland didnt appear to be losing any sleep over it.

“We know what we get from Dan, we know what a quality player is and his strengths are," Gatland said. "It was sending a message to Gareth that we just didnt want to pick you for one game and then put you on the bench.

"It wasnt really a difficult selection, it was one about giving Gareth another opportunity.”

As for the Australian side, which features recalled players Tolu Latu, Jack Dempsey and Samu Kerevi, Gatland was full of praise.

“Its a pretty strong team,” he said. “I think theyve picked their strongest team. Theyve made a few changes but I think its a sign of respect. Australia are fully loaded for Saturday.”

The Wallabies have had a terrible 2018, winning just three games from 10 starts and three of their last 12 matches stretching back to the England fixture last November at Twickenham.

Gatland has watched Wales lose 13 consecutive games to the Wallabies since 2009 and knows full well how potent they can be on their day.

“The one thing about Australian teams, you write them off at your peril," Gatland said. "They are competitors in whatever sport and they realise the pressure that is put on them in terms of coming up to the northern hemisphere and having a successful autumn campaign.

Gatland isn't taking too much notice of Australia's poor run of results.

Gatland isn't taking too much notice of Australia's poor run of results.Credit:AP

“We know the threat of (Michael) Hooper and (David) Pocock on the ball, so we have to make sure we have very limited separation between the ball carrier and the player cleaning out.”

Gatland said playing Scotland last weekend puts Wales in a far better position to come away from Cardiff with the morale-boosting win he hopes can translate into success at next years World Cup pool stages when the two sides will meet again.

“It is tough when you havent been together for four months and you come up against – normally in the first game – Australia, South Africa and New Zealand who have come off a [Rugby] Championship,” Gatland said.

“Its not the easiest thing in the world. I think the fact weve got that first game under our belt, weve got a win, some confidence, hopefully well be a lot better to take on Australia.

“Weve been disappointed with the run of losses that weve had against them but if you look at how close a lot of those games are … games have gone down to the wire.”

Wales team

(1-15): Nicky Smith, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Gareth Davies, Gareth Anscombe, Josh Adams, Hadleigh Parkes, Jonathan Davies, George North, Leigh Halfpenny

Bench: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Dillon Lewis, Cory Hill, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams

Wallabies team

(1-15): Scott Sio, Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Sefa Naivalu, Kurtley Beale, Samu Kerevi, Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty

Bench: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Jack Maddocks

Tom Decent is a journalist with Fairfax Media.