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Wales make six changes to their team to face the Springboks

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

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Wayne Pivac has named a Wales team to face the Springboks that shows six changes following last Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series defeat to the All Blacks in Cardiff. With skipper Alun Wyn Jones and Ross Moriarty ruled out with shoulder injuries that require surgery and with no limitations on players release, unlike last week when Gallagher Premiership players were unavailable for selection, there were always going to be alterations to the Welsh team that started the 16-54 loss last weekend.

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Loosehead Rhys Carre comes into the front row alongside hooker Ryan Elias and tighthead prop Tomas Francis, with Wyn Jones moving to the replacements bench. Dragons lock Will Rowlands links up with Ospreys lock Adam Beard in the second row to win his twelfth international cap.

Cardiff’s Ellis Jenkins comes in for Moriarty in the back row, making his long-awaited return to international injury after suffering a knee injury against South Africa three years ago. Dragons pair Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright retain their places at seven and No8 respectively.

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Tomos Williams remains at scrum-half while the experienced fly-half Dan Biggar, making his 93rd international appearance, returns to the starting line-up after a summer touring with the British and Irish Lions. Saracens centre Nick Tompkins partners up in midfield with captain Jonathan Davies, with Louis Rees-Zammit linking up in the back three with fellow winger Josh Adams and fullback Johnny McNicholl.

The replacements include two debutants, hooker Bradley Roberts and tighthead prop WillGriff John, who will be looking to win their first international caps on Saturday. Full-back Liam Williams has also made a return to fitness.

“South Africa coming to town, as World Champions, offers a different challenge to New Zealand. They have got a massive forward pack, they’re big across the park really, and they bring a huge aerial threat so it’s going to be a different challenge,” said head coach Pivac ahead of the second fixture for Wales in the Autumn Nations Series.

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“It’s a big Test match and we need to get what we think is the best side out there. We’re looking forward to having this side out there on the weekend and it’ll be really interesting to see how we go. There’s a lot of experience gone from the pack now and with what’s coming in terms of the South African pack, with their experience, it’s going to be a massive challenge for our boys and it’ll be interesting to see who steps up.

“Field position in this game is going to be massive, with the scrum that’s coming and line out drive, so we have to make sure we’re smart in how we play the game.

WALES (vs South Africa, Saturday)
15 Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets)
14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby)
13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets – Capt)
12 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
11 Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby)
10 Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints)
9 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby);
1 Rhys Carré (Cardiff Rugby)
2 Ryan Elias (Scarlets)
3 Tomas Francis (Ospreys)
4 Will Rowlands (Dragons)
5 Adam Beard (Ospreys)
6 Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Rugby)
7 Taine Basham (Dragons)
8 Aaron Wainwright (Dragons)
Replacements:
16 Bradley Roberts (Ulster – uncapped)
17 Wyn Jones (Scarlets)
18 WillGriff John (Scarlets – uncapped)
19 Ben Carter (Dragons)
20 Seb Davies (Cardiff Rugby)
21 Gareth Davies (Scarlets)
22 Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys)
23 Liam Williams (Scarlets)

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