All you need to know about the Test between South Africa and Wales in Washington
South Africa v Wales Preview
South Africa and Wales are kicking off the 2018 summer tours with a fixture in Washington DC – and Warren Gatland’s side are aiming for a hat-trick of victories against the Springboks.
Wales beat South Africa 24-22 in Cardiff last November and 27-13 the year before – and should they win in America it will be their first victory over the Boks outside of the Welsh capital.
Both coaches have picked new-look sides for this fixture in America, which falls outside the official international window, as they look to build depth ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Here’s what you need to know about the match…
What’s the big team news?
Cardiff Blues scrum-half Tomos Williams will make his Test debut for Wales, who will be captained for the first time by Ellis Jenkins.
Related: A Q&A with Tomos Williams
George North is picked at outside-centre – his fourth start in midfield for Wales – while Aaron Wainwright could also earn his first cap if he comes on as a replacement.
Rhys Patchell will undergo a fitness test before the game and if he doesn’t come through that successfully, Gareth Davies will take his place on the bench.
There are seven uncapped players in the South Africa starting team – and a further six on the bench.
Among those making their Test debuts from the off are wing Makazole Mapimpi, who scored ten tries in 13 games for the Cheetahs in the Guinness Pro14 before earning a Super Rugby contract with the Sharks, and flanker Kwagga Smith, who so impressed for the Barbarians against New Zealand last year.
The other starters earning their first caps are Travis Ismaiel, Andre Esterhuizen, Ivan van Zyl, Jason Jenkins and Ox Nche, while the uncapped Akker van der Merwe, Thomas du Toit, Marvin Orie, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Embrose Papier and Robert du Preez are all on the bench.
What have the coaches said?
South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus: “As coaches, we are tremendously excited about the prospect of seeing some of our best young players getting the opportunity to play at this level.
“Wales have a very solid and effective kicking strategy and their cohesive forward and set-piece play are some of their main strong points.”
Wales head coach Warren Gatland: “Everything we are doing is geared for the World Cup in 15 months’ time and the next three matches are a hugely important part of our development.
“This weekend is an opportunity for players to build on their Test experience and lay a marker down for the jersey and for the position going forward.”
Any interesting statistics?
- Tom Prydie is winning his first cap for five years. The wing, who made his debut as an 18-year-old in 2010, last played for Wales against Tokyo in June 2013.
- The Springboks starting line-up has just 134 caps-worth of experience.
- South Africa wing Travis Ismaiel will not only be celebrating his Test debut against Wales but his 26th birthday.
- Wales have won only four of their 33 Tests against South Africa. They have drawn once and lost 28 times.
- If Robert du Preez comes on as a replacement, it will be the first time that three sons of a former Springbok (Robert senior) have also been capped by South Africa. Jean-Luc, Dan and Robert junior would also become the fourth set of three Springbok brothers.
- George North, with 73 Wales caps, has made 20 more Test appearances than the entire Springboks back-line.
When does it kick off and is it on TV?
The match is being played at the Robert F Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington DC, which has a capacity of 45,596. It kicks off at 10pm UK time and you can watch the game live on Channel 4.
Englishman Matthew Carley will referee the match, with Alexandre Ruiz (France) and Frank Murphy (Ireland) as his assistants.
What are the line-ups?
SOUTH AFRICA: Curwin Bosch; Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi; Elton Jantjies, Ivan van Zyl; Ox Nche, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Wilco Louw, Jason Jenkins, Pieter-Steph du Toit (captain), Kwagga Smith, Oupa Mohoje, Dan du Preez.
Replacements:Akker van der Merwe, Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Marvin Orie, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Embrose Papier, Robert du Preez, Warrick Gelant.
WALES: Hallam Amos; Tom Prydie, George North, Owen Watkin, Steff Evans; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee, Dillon Lewis, Bradley Davies, Cory Hill, Seb Davies, Ellis Jenkins (captain), Ross Moriarty.
Replacements: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Rhodri Jones, Adam Beard, Aaron Wainwright, Aled Davies, Rhys Patchell/Gareth Davies, Hadleigh Parkes.
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