Wales interim head coach Rob Howley has named his XV for Saturday’s must win clash against South Africa.
The under pressure Howley has turned to, more or less, the side that beat Argentina 24-20 two weeks ago as Wales seek to end a disappointing campaign on a high.
Dan Lydiate replaces Sam Warburton at 6, who is ruled out with a shoulder injury picked up in training on Tuesday, in the only change from the side which put in Wales’ best performance of the campaign thus far.
Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams swap positions, with Halpenny moving back to fullback and Liam Williams reverting to the left wing. George North moves from the left wing to the right wing.
While Scott Williams returns at 12 in place of Jamie Roberts, who drops down to the bench. Dan Biggar comes in for Gareth Anscombe at 10, with last weekend’s match-winner Sam Davies once again starting on the replacements bench. The Blues’ Anscombe drops out of the match day 23.
Gareth Davies partners Dan Biggar at scrum-half with Lloyd Williams moving to the bench.
Up front, Gethin Jenkins returns from a shoulder injury suffered against the Pumas and leads the side, with the Scarlets’ Ken Owens and Exeter Chiefs’ Tomas Francis completing the front row.
The Ospreys’ Alun Wyn Jones and Bath’s Luke Charteris form a highly experienced second row partnership, with Lydiate, the impressive Ross Moriarty and Justin Tipuric making up the back row.
Talupe Faletau makes a welcome return to the match day squad after recovering from a knee injury, and is joined in offering cover up front by Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin and Cory Hill.
Howley had this to say about his XV (via the Welsh Rugby Union’s official website):
“We were pleased with the win against Argentina so have gone with virtually the same team for South Africa.
“We’ve made just one change in the back-row. Sam (Warburton) picked up a bit of a stinger injury on Tuesday and isn’t quite ready so Dan comes in. Dan played particularly well against Japan so we are pleased he gets the opportunity again.
“It’s good to have Taulupe back in the squad, he will add a good impact from the bench. We are delighted with Sam, he showed individual composure and accuracy last weekend and he gets another opportunity on the bench, as he did against Australia.
“There is the tinge of disappointment in terms of performance against Japan and we want to put that right. Not only are we looking to win this weekend we want a performance to go with it.”
The Wales XV to play South Africa:
15. Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) (65 Caps)
14. George North (Northampton Saints) (64 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (58 Caps)
12. Scott Williams (Scarlets) (40 Caps)
11. Liam Williams (Scarlets) (37 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (50 Caps)
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (21 Caps)
1. Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) (128 Caps) (CAPTAIN)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (44 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (16 Caps)
4. Luke Charteris (Bath Rugby) (70 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (104 Caps)
6. Dan Lydiate (Ospreys) (59 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (45 Caps)
8. Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) (11 Caps)
16. Scott Baldwin (Ospreys) (27 Caps)
17. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (6 Caps)
18. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (28 Caps)
19. Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons) (2 Caps)
20. Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby (61 Caps)
21. Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues) (28 Caps)
22. Sam Davies (Ospreys) (2 Caps)
23. Jamie Roberts (Harlequins) (85 Caps)
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena
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