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Uncapped Saracens prop Wainwright called up to tour by Wales

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Saracens/Getty Images)

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Wayne Pivac has announced a change to his Wales squad ahead of next month’s three-Test series away to South Africa, the coach naming the uncapped Sam Wainwright of Saracens as a replacement for the injured Leon Brown. The 24-year-old prop has featured four times off the London club’s bench in this season’s Gallagher Premiership campaign and has also been on loan at Championship club Ampthill.

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A WRU statement read: “Sam Wainwright (Saracens) has been called up to the Wales senior men’s squad for the three-Test series in South Africa. He replaces Leon Brown (Dragons), who has failed to recover from a nerve issue sustained on club duty. Wainwright will join the squad after the conclusion of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season.”

Saracens host defending champions Harlequins this Saturday in the semi-finals with the Twickenham final to follow on June 18 if they qualify. Wales open their tour with a July 2 game in Pretoria followed by other matches in Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

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Wainwright becomes the sixth Premiership-based player to be included in the Wales tour squad. The five other players are Taulupe Faletau, the No8 who recently played his last Bath game ahead of his club return to Cardiff, Leicester back-rower Tommy Reffell, Northampton out-half Dan Biggar, Saracens centre Nick Tompkins and Gloucester winger Louis Rees-Zammit.

It was May 18 when Pivac originally named his 33-strong squad for the trip to South Africa, including uncapped pair Cardiff’s James Ratti and Reffell in a selection that also featured an international return for both George North and Dan Lydiate after their extended periods out with injury.

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Pivac said at the time: “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.”

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