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South Africa vs Wales: Warren Gatland wants to tame the Springboks

With the match being played outside World Rugby’s international window, Wales and South Africa have been hampered by injuries and absences for this match.

The Welsh selection could probably be described as experimental and inexperienced.

Everywhere you look, Wales are trying things for the first time. The problem is, they’re doing it against two-time world champions.

Some problems have been forced upon them. Flanker Jac Morgan is the latest injury shock after a hamstring injury kept him out for the summer. That leaves him on the sidelines alongside the likes of Taulupe Faletau, Adam Beard, Teddy Williams, Tomos Williams and Gareth Anscombe, while Josh Adams, Will Rowlands and Ryan Elias sit out the summer programme.

Supporter Henry Thomas cancelled his withdrawal from the match against South Africa at short notice due to a foot injury, but still hopes to be able to take part in the tour.

Six Nations captain Dafydd Jenkins is one of seven England players – along with Christ Tshiunza, Nick Tompkins, Tommy Reffell, Dillon Lewis, Archie Griffin and Josh Hathaway – who are ineligible to play.

Lake leads the side, while James Botham takes on the role of flanker and lock Matthew Screech makes his first Test start.

Cardiff scrum-half Ellis Bevan makes his Test debut and three potential newcomers, Eddie James, James Ratti and Jacob Beetham, are on the bench.

Cardiff full-back Beetham will deputise for link-up Sam Costelow, despite never starting a professional game at the age of 10.

This is not the only first: Mason Grady starts for the first time in his professional career as a centre-back in a newly formed midfield partnership with Owen Watkin.

Liam Williams makes his first appearance for Wales since the World Cup after being selected to play on the wing while Cameron Winnett remained at full-back.

South Africa will be without the Bulls team as Cheslin Kolbe, Damien Willemse and Lukhanyo Am are injured.

Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus can still select ten players from the squad that defeated New Zealand in the World Cup final in October 2023.

New captain Pieter-Steph du Toit, Etzebeth and scrum-half Faf de Klerk are there, while striker Vincent Koch played his 50th international match.

With France-based captain and two-time world champion Siya Kolisi unavailable, winger Du Toit leads the team hoping for better luck after South Africa narrowly lost to Wales in Washington in 2018.

The youth side will feature winger Edwill van der Merwe and link-up Jordan Hendrikse, who will make their Test debuts, while Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu and Ben-Jason Dixon could make their first starting appearances as substitutes.

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