George North has seldom been deployed at inside centre for Wales, but is certain to be a physical presence in midfield. Photo: Reuters/Paul Childs
George North has seldom been deployed at inside centre for Wales, but is certain to be a physical presence in midfield. Photo: Reuters/Paul Childs
Ellis Jenkins, seen here in action for the Cardiff Blues against the Southern Kings in the PRO 14, was named captain. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix
Ellis Jenkins, seen here in action for the Cardiff Blues against the Southern Kings in the PRO 14, was named captain. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

WASHINGTON, United States - Ellis Jenkins will captain Wales for the first time, with powerhouse wing George North deployed at centre, against South Africa in Washington DC on Saturday.

It will be just the fourth occasion in the 73-times capped North's career he has started in midfield after centre outings for Wales against France four years ago and Australia in 2014 and 2015.

Wales coach Warren Gatland had the majority of the Wales players who were involved in the British and Irish Lions drawn series in New Zealand last year, with Cardiff scrum-half Tomos Williams given a debut.

Flank Jenkins led the Cardiff Blues to European Challenge Cup final success earlier this month, and was named Wales's tour co-captain with Dragons lock Cory Hill, who starts in the second row.

Jenkins will lead the side against the Springboks in the absence of the rested Alun Wyn Jones.

"Saturday is a huge opportunity for this squad and for players individually," said Gatland on Thursday ahead of the one-off Test. 

"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 rugby experience and lay a marker down for the jersey and for the position going forward.

"I think there are exciting selections across the team and I'm looking forward to Saturday to see what we are able to do against the Springboks."

Following the South Africa game, Wales travel to Argentina for two Tests against the Pumas on June 9 and June 16.

Wales team (15-1): Hallam Amos; Tom Prydie, George North, Owen Watkin, Steff Evans; Gareth Anscombe Tomos Williams; Ross Moriarty, Ellis Jenkins (capt), Seb Davies; Cory Hill, Bradley Davies; Dillon Lewis, Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith. Replacements: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Rhodri Jones, Adam Beard, Aaron Wainwright, Aled Davies, Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies, Hadleigh Parkes.

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