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Preview: Wales v South Africa

Preview: Wales v South Africa

Preview: Wales v South Africa

With the 2023 Rugby World Cup now less than a month away, Wales will welcome world champions South Africa to Principality Stadium for a fascinating clash in the Summer Nations Series.

Warren Gatland’s side will want to avenge their 19-17 defeat against England last time out, while the Springboks will be hoping to build on their second-place finish in last month’s Rugby Championship. 

With over 100 years of history behind this fixture, and a World Cup now firmly on the horizon, what better time to take a closer look at these two sides ahead of Saturday’s clash? 

Team News

Cai Evans will make his Wales debut following Liam Williams’ late withdrawal due to a tight hamstring. 

Dan Biggar has also been rested as a precaution following a back irritation, with Sam Costelow set to start at fly-half in his place. 

Alex Cuthbert, Johnny Williams and Kieran Hardy will all make their first appearances of the Summer Nations Series, while Jac Morgan is named as captain for the second time this month. 

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Siya Kolisi is back in South Africa’s starting XV ahead of their first game of the summer. 

The flanker had been a doubt for the World Cup after suffering a partial tear to his anterior cruciate ligament in April. 

The duo of Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman start together in the engine room for the first time, while there is a six-two split on the bench.

The replacements are astoundingly experienced, with forwards Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Marco van Staden and Duane Vermeulen boasting 269 caps between them.

Ones to Watch

With South Africa taking four scrum-halves to France, Saturday could be Jaden Hendrikse’s best chance to get ahead of Faf de Klerk in the pecking order. 

The pair look set to battle it out for a spot in Jacques Nienaber’s starting XV, but both players bring something different to this Springbok side. 

A good performance against Wales could be enough to see Hendrikse start when South Africa get their World Cup campaign underway against Fiji next month. 

Keiron Assiratti could not have asked for a tougher test on his second international cap. 

The tighthead prop will come up against the intimidating trio of Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Frans Malherbe on Saturday, a big ask for even the most experienced front-row forward. 

Gatland has been vocal about his admiration for the up-and-coming star’s skill in the loose. 

And if he can get the set piece right against three of the best in the world this weekend, he will do his chances of starting in France a world of good. 

Stat Attack

● South Africa have won four of their last five Test matches against Wales (L1) after losing four in a row against them previously – four of the last five Test matches between Wales and South Africa have been decided by margins of just five points or fewer. 

● Wales have won two of their last four Test matches (L2), as many as they’d won in their previous 13 fixtures – Wales have conceded just one try across their last two matches, after conceding 2+ tries in each of their previous six. 

● Wales won their most recent Test match on home soil (20-9 v England) after losing four in a row previously – they will be aiming to win back-to-back home matches for the first time since winning three in a row between November 2021 and February 2022. 


Wales XV to face South Africa

15. Cai Evans, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. Mason Grady, 12. Johnny Williams, 11. Rio Dyer, 10. Sam Costelow, 9. Kieran Hardy, 1. Corey Domachowski, 2. Elliot Dee, 3. Keiron Assiratti, 4. Ben Carter, 5. Will Rowlands, 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. Jac Morgan (C), 8. Aaron Wainwright.


16. Sam Parry, 17. Nicky Smith, 18. Henry Thomas, 19. Teddy Williams, 20. Taine Basham, 21. Tomos Williams, 22. Max Llewellyn, 23. Tom Rogers.

South Africa XV to face Wales

15. Willie le Roux, 14. Canan Moodie, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Manie Libbok, 9. Jaden Hendrikse, 1. Steven Kitshoff, 2. Malcolm Marx, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Jean Kleyn, 5. RG Snyman, 6. Siya Kolisi (C), 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8. Jasper Wiese.


16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Ox Nche, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. Franco Mostert, 20. Marco van Staden, 21. Duane Vermeulen, 22. Grant Williams, 23. Damian Willemse

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