Pretoria - Wales coach Wayne Pivac has picked a brand new openside flank in Tommy Reffell for Saturday’s first Test against the Springboks in Pretoria, while British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones will play off the bench.
Reffell has been on Pivac’s radar for some time after captaining Wales at Under-18 and Under-20 levels and now he gets his first opportunity on the senior international stage.
Back in the team is veteran Dan Lydiate, who starts at blind-side flanker, his first international appearance since the match against Ireland in the 2021 Six Nations. Taulupe Faletau (No 8) completes the back row.
George North also features for the first time since 2021, his last outing for Wales being the fixture against France in the final round of that Championship. He pairs up with Nick Tompkins in the midfield.
Kieran Hardy is named at scrumhalf, his sixth start in a Wales jersey, with captain Dan Biggar winning his 101st cap at flyhalf.
Hooker Ryan Elias wins his ninth cap and he is joined in the front row by Gareth Thomas (loosehead prop) and Dillon Lewis (tighthead prop). Will Rowlands and Adam Beard are selected to start in the second row for the sixth time together.
In the back three, Liam Williams is fullback, while Louis Rees-Zammit and Josh Adams are on the wings.
Rhys Carre features in a Wales match day 23 for the first time this year. Dewi Lake and Tomas Francis are the other front-row replacements. Alun Wyn Jones and Josh Navidi provide the remaining forward cover.
Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe and Owen Watkin are also selected among Wales’ replacements.
The players will wear black armbands on Saturday in honour of Wales and British and Irish Lions legend Phil Bennett, who died on June 12.
Wales team: 15 Liam William 14 Louis Rees-Zammit 13 George North 12 Nick Tompkins 11 Josh Adams 10 Dan Biggar (capt) 9 Kieran Hardy 8 Taulupe Faletau 7 Tommy Reffell 6 Dan Lydiate 5 Will Rowlands 4 Adam Beard 3 Dillon Lewis 2 Ryan Elias 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: Dewi Lake, Rhys Carre, Tomas Francis, Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Navidi, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Owen Watkin.