Pivac names Wales team to face South Africa as they hand Tommy Reffell debut
Leicester flanker Tommy Reffell will make his Wales debut in Saturday’s Test series opener against world champions South Africa.
Bridgend-born Reffell, who helped Tigers win this season’s Gallagher Premiership title at Twickenham, will line up in Pretoria alongside back-row colleagues Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau.
Lydiate and centre George North return to international rugby after more than a year away from the Test match arena because of serious knee injuries.
And Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has opted for Will Rowlands and Adam Beard as the second-row partnership, meaning 150 times-capped Alun Wyn Jones is on the bench.
Jones is joined among the replacements by fellow British and Irish Lions player Josh Navidi, with Tomos Williams providing scrum-half cover for Kieran Hardy.
Hardy is elevated to the starting XV as captain Dan Biggar’s half-back partner, with North joined in midfield by Saracens’ Nick Tompkins.
But there is no place in Wales’ matchday 23 for wing Alex Cuthbert, who impressed during this season’s Guinness Six Nations Championship.
Lions Louis Rees-Zammit and Josh Adams are the starting wings, while props Gareth Thomas and Dillon Lewis also feature.
Wales team to play South Africa in Pretoria on Saturday
L Williams (Cardiff); L Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), G North (Ospreys), N Tompkins (Saracens), J Adams (Cardiff); D Biggar (Northampton, capt), K Hardy (Scarlets); G Thomas (Ospreys), R Elias (Scarlets), D Lewis (Cardiff), W Rowlands (Dragons), A Beard (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Ospreys), T Reffell (Leicester), T Faletau (Cardiff).
Replacements: D Lake (Ospreys), R Carre (Cardiff), T Francis (Ospreys), A W Jones (Ospreys), J Navidi (Cardiff), T Williams (Cardiff), G Anscombe (Ospreys), O Watkin (Ospreys).
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.