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Two uncapped names in Wales' squad of 33 for the South Africa tour

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Wales boss Wayne Pivac has named two uncapped players, Cardiff’’s James Ratti and Leicester’s Tommy Reffell, in his 33-man squad for the three-Test series in South Africa this July, the first visit by the Welsh to the home of the Springboks since 2014. Ratti is called up after featuring in the 2022 Guinness Six Nations squad while Reffell is selected in a Wales senior squad for the first time.

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George North and Dan Lydiate return for international duty after extended periods out with injury. Ospreys’ teammate Sam Parry will join them in camp with Wales. Scarlets duo Johnny Williams and Rhys Patchell are also named. Dan Biggar will continue to captain the squad for this Test series following his appointment in the Six Nations.

Pivac said: “We have had some players come back from injury like George North so that is exciting for the squad. Some players have been ruled out through injury, so there are naturally going to be changes there. Then we have looked at players’ form, who we are playing, where we’re playing – we have two games at altitude – and what our gameplan will be when considering selection.

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“I spoke to Tommy Reffell before we announced the squad for the Six Nations. We looked hard at Tommy and decided to leave him out then. He has played very well since. He has been very consistent – one of the most consistent players in the English Premiership so we feel that he deserves an opportunity and he will be well tested on this tour.

“This three-Test series is going to be a challenge. It always has been, history shows that and certainly, that is what we are looking to achieve, to get a victory there if not two and win a series. The first two Tests at altitude are going to be a challenge, so first and foremost we’ve got to do a lot of preparation here in Wales before we go and make sure we are in the best shape possible to perform well.

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On the captaincy, Pivac added: “Dan Bigger is named captain. We have obviously got great leadership in the group with Alun Wyn and Dan. Dan did well in the Six Nations and Al has come back from a pretty big layoff. He has had a little bit of rugby and we want him to hit his straps as a second row and be the best player he can be and focus on playing. He will lead naturally anyway but certainly, he is looking forward to that challenge.”

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The first Test against the Springboks will be held in Pretoria on July 2, with other games to follow in Bloemfontein and Cape Town. Wales and South Africa have faced each other 37 times to date with the first encounter taking place in Swansea in 1906. The two sides’ last fixture was during the 2021 Autumn Nations Series where Wales were narrowly defeated 23-18 at Principality Stadium.

WALES SQUAD FOR SOUTH AFRICA TEST SERIES
Forwards (19)
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby – 16 caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 43 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 10 caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 27 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 5 caps)
Sam Parry (Ospreys – 5 caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons – 22 caps)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 64 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 38 caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 34 caps)
Ben Carter (Dragons – 6 caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 150 caps)
Will Rowlands (Dragons – 18 caps)
Taine Basham (Dragons – 10 caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby – 89 caps)
Dan Lydiate (Ospreys – 65 caps)
Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby – 30 caps)
James Ratti (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – uncapped)

Backs (14)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 67 caps)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 11 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 33 caps)
Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 31 caps)
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints – 100 caps) Captain
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets – 21 caps)
George North (Ospreys – 102 caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 20 caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 31 caps)
Johnny Williams (Scarlets – 5 caps
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 39 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 51 caps)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 16 caps)
Liam Williams (Scarlets – 78 caps)

Players unavailable for selection due to injury:
Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Christ Tshiunza, Aaron Wainwright, Uilisi Halaholo, Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl

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