Wales test depth for under-strength Boks

Nov 30, 2017 - 1:01 PM Wales will hand a debut to New Zealand-born centre Hadleigh Parkes a day after he becomes available to the team as one of five changes to their side for the Test against struggling South Africa.

Coach Warren Gatland is exploring the depth of his squad with the next World Cup in Japan a little under two years away.

Yet after defeats to Australia and New Zealand already this autumn, he will not want to go into 2018 with another loss against what will be an under-strength Springboks side at Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Inside centre Parkes, who only becomes eligible through residency to represent Wales on Friday, will partner Scott Williams in the midfield, while Gatland has also handed a start to halfback Aled Davies.

The selection of Davies is a surprise, with first-choice Rhys Webb on the bench having come through concussion protocols this week, and Gareth Davies not in the matchday squad altogether.

"We have spoken about exposing the squad to test match rugby and this weekend is a great opportunity for Hadleigh to earn his first cap and for Aled to make his first start of the campaign," Gatland said in a statement from the Welsh Rugby Union on Thursday.

"Saturday is an opportunity to continue to build on what we have done so far and round off the autumn campaign with a big performance."

Gatland has also made three changes to his forward pack with hooker Kristian Dacey and prop Scott Andrews coming into the front row alongside Rob Evans, while lock Cory Hill will partner captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

"We have had a couple of knocks from last weekend, with Ken (Owens), Leon (Brown) and Jake (Ball) unavailable, but that just provides an opportunity for Kristian, Scott and Cory to start," Galtland said.

Wales have won both their previous two home matches against the Springboks, who claimed some revenge with a narrow 23-19 victory in the quarter-finals of the World Cup two years ago.

WALES: Leigh Halfpenny, Hallam Amos, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans, Dan Biggar, Aled Davies, Taulupe Faletau, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Cory Hill, Scott Andrews, Kristian Dacey, Rob Evans. Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Rhodri Jones, Seb Davies, Dan Lydiate, Rhys Webb, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin.

Source: AAP

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!