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Wales call up a second uncapped tighthead to tour South Africa

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

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Uncapped Scarlets prop Harri O’Connor has been called up to the Wales squad for next month’s South Africa tour. It means that Wales head coach Wayne Pivac will now take 34 players to the southern hemisphere, adding 21-year-old O’Connor to his original squad selection.

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O’Connor was born in North Yorkshire, but he qualifies for Wales through his father who is from Bonymaen. Saracens prop Sam Wainwright, who is also uncapped, was named earlier this month as a squad replacement for an injured Leon Brown. Wales face three Tests against the world champion Springboks, starting in Pretoria on July 2.

A WRU statement read: “Thirty-four players will now travel to South Africa for the three-Test series in July. O’Connor has graduated from the Welsh exiles programme having previously been part of the Bath academy.

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“He studied at Llandovery College and played for Scarlets U18 before playing for Wales U18 and was also capped at U20s level. O’Connor began his rugby journey at Dorchester before being spotted by Dorset & Wilts for county matches and then moved into the Bath academy aged 15.

“The 21-year-old gained experience in the English Championship last season with Nottingham and made his first competitive start for the Scarlets against the Ospreys on New Year’s Day this year.”

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The inclusion of O’Connor means there are now four uncapped players in the tour party, tighthead pair O’Connor and Wainwright, along with back-rowers James Ratti of Cardiff and Leicester’s Tommy Reffell, a Gallagher Premiership title winner last Saturday at Twickenham.

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WALES (revised squad for South Africa)
Forwards (20)
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)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 64 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 38 caps)
Harri O’Connor (Scarlets – uncapped)
Sam Wainwright (Saracens – uncapped)
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)

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