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Tommy Reffell to make Wales debut against South Africa

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Leicester Tigers flanker Tommy Reffell is set to make his Wales debut on Saturday against world champions South Africa in Pretoria after being named at openside flanker by head coach Wayne Pivac.

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The 23-year-old has hand a standout season in England, winning the Gallagher Premiership with the Tigers, and is the only uncapped player in the squad. He will partner the returning Dan Lydiate on the other flank, who is making his first Wales appearance after an ACL injury in the opening match of the 2021 Six Nations.

Pivac has named an experienced bench, with Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Navidi and Tomas Francis all starting as replacements.

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Pivac said: “Tommy Reffell is a player we’ve been watching for some time now. He’s been in very good form with Leicester Tigers and he’s match fit – which is important with our squad not having played a lot of rugby recently. We think it’s the right time for him and what a great debut to have at Loftus Versfeld.

“Dan Lydiate and George North return for Wales. We’re very pleased they’re back after long layoffs. They’ve both worked very hard and were playing well at the time of their injuries, so it was disappointing for them to be out for so long. But to have them back, and the experience they bring, it’s great for the group.

“South Africa are world champions. We’ve played them recently in the autumn but we don’t think there will be too much change. They’ve got a very big side, a six-two split on the bench. We don’t expect much change from the way they played against us previously and it’s been very effective for them. We’re expecting a very tough game.”

Wales squad to face South Africa at Loftus Versfeld
15. Liam Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 78 caps)
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 16 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 102 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 20 caps)
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 39 caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints – 100 caps), captain
9. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 11 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 10 caps)
2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 27 caps)
3. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 38 caps)
4. Will Rowlands (Dragons – 18 caps)
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 34 caps)
6. Dan Lydiate (Ospreys – 65 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – uncapped)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 89 caps)

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Replacements
16. Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 5 caps)
17. Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby – 16 caps)
18. Tomas Francis (Ospreys 64 caps)
19. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 150 caps)
20. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby – 30 caps)
21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 33 caps)
22. Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 31 caps)
23. Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 31 caps)

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