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Wales make just one change to the starting XV for second Boks Test

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Getty Images)

Wayne Pivac has made just one change to his Wales team for this Saturday’s second Test versus the Springboks in Bloemfontein, Alex Cuthbert chosen on the left wing for the benched Josh Adams, a decision that sees Owen Watkin drop out of the matchday 23.

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Two other bench alterations see Wyn Jones become the replacement loosehead instead of Rhys Carre while the uncapped Sam Wainwright comes in as sub tighthead for Tomas Francis, whose tour was ended by last weekend’s latest concussion in a Test that the Welsh agonisingly lost 32-29 in Pretoria.

This round two selection consistency is a very different Wales approach to the one adopted by the Springboks, who have changed 14 of last Saturday’s starting XV with only lock Eben Etzebeth retained – a selection that drew the ire on Wednesday of legendary Welsh scrum-half Gareth Edwards.

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Pivac said: “Alex Cuthbert has been training really well. He is six foot four, good in the air and runs all day. There will be plenty of aerial battles. Sam Wainwright has been very excited to join us. From day one he has been training really well.

“I know he is over the moon at his selection in the matchday 23 and his family are over here so he is looking forward to a big day. It was a great atmosphere last week and we are expecting more of the same from the crowd in Bloemfontein this Saturday.”

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On the South African side head coach Jacques Nienaber named earlier this week, Pivac added: “It hasn’t changed our preparation at all. It’s going to be 15 rugby players in green shirts. We are expecting more of the same. They are a very experienced team no matter what combinations they put out. This side is one to be respected and not taken lightly.”

WALES (vs South Africa, Saturday)
15. Liam Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 79 caps)
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 17 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 103 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 21 caps)
11. Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 51 caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints – 101 caps), captain
9. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 12 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 11 caps)
2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 28 caps)
3. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 39 caps)
4. Will Rowlands (Dragons – 19 caps)
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 35 caps)
6. Dan Lydiate (Ospreys – 66 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 1 cap)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff Rugby – 90 caps)

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Replacements:
16. Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 6 caps)
17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 43 caps)
18. Sam Wainwright (Saracens – uncapped)
19. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 151 caps)
20. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby – 31 caps)
21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 34 caps)
22. Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 31 caps)
23. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 40 caps)

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