All you need to know about the Test between Wales and South Africa in Cardiff.
Autumn Internationals Wales v South Africa Preview
Both these teams are trending in the same upward trajectory it seems. Wales are on an unbeaten run of eight Tests and are looking to secure an Autumn Internationals clean sweep for the first time.
South Africa, after a couple of tough years, are playing excellent rugby once again as shown by their narrow victories over Scotland and France this November, and a victory over New Zealand in the Rugby Championship earlier this year.
Both sides will be looking to end their years with one more hard-fought win and we expect this to be a close affair given the past few score-lines between the two rugby powerhouses. In recent memory, Wales have won the last three matches, with the latest in Washington DC in the summer. However that was Rassie Erasmus’s first game in charge, so the Springboks taking the field on Saturday will be a totally different proposition for the Welsh.
As a result, this Test is sure to be a colossal match-up between two sides looking to take momentum into World Cup year.
What’s the big team news?
Wales have made several changes to the side that, for a brief period, were thoroughly tested by Tonga.
In fact Adam Beard and Liam Williams are the only two players to keep their spots, with the latter taking up the full-back jersey due to the concussion to Leigh Halfpenny. Will Halfpenny’s kicking proficiency be missed in a tight contest? Gareth Anscombe starts at ten, with Dan Biggar on the bench.
South Africa on the other hand have named an unchanged starting line-up a week after beating Scotland at Murrayfield. The only change to the match day squad comes in the form of the giant Eben Etzebeth who replaces Lood de Jager on the bench.
What have the coaches said?
Warren Gatland said of the possibility of a Autumn Internationals clean sweep: “The players are fully aware of what they’ve achieved and they can do something special.
“Momentum would be created for the Six Nations and they can continue to build towards the World Cup.
“I haven’t seen this level of maturity in a group of players. We’re calm and our composure in games has been outstanding.
“We want to end the campaign with a big performance against a very good South African side. It’s the end of a campaign, like a cup game. Winner takes all.”
Springboks head-coach Rassie Erasmus said” “Wales have a formidable squad and their current run of eight unbeaten Tests is proof and also an indication of their good form at the moment.
“They are a well-balanced and strong side with a great home record so our boys will be in for a massive contest on Saturday.
“We will be desperate to win, and to end the tour on a high would be fantastic for the experience and growth of this squad.”
Any interesting statistics?
- Five of the past six meetings between the two sides have been settled by six points or fewer.
- Wales last won nine in a row in 1999 – when backs coach Rob Howley was captain.
- They have won their past seven Tests at home. Only once since 1978 have they enjoyed a longer winning run.
- South Africa’s tally of 36 tries this year puts them third among tier one nations behind New Zealand (68) and Scotland (39).
- The 26-20 win against Scotland last weekend was just their sixth win in their past 19 Tests on their travels (D1, L12).
What time does it kick off and is it on TV?
Wales v South Africa, Saturday 24 November, Principality Stadium, Cardiff
The match will kick off at 5.20pm and will be televised on the BBC, S4C and the BBC Sport website.
Luke Pearce will be the referee in control with Wayne Barnes and Karl Dickson providing assistance as touch judges.
The TMO is Irishman Simon McDowell.
What are the line-ups?
WALES: Liam Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies; Nicky Smith, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Dillon Lewis, Cory Hill, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin.
SOUTH AFRICA: Willie le Roux; Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi; Handré Pollard, Embrose Papier; Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Frans Malherbe, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (c), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Ivan van Zyl, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe.
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