Wales v South Africa Preview – Autumn Internationals
Wales will be out to right the wrongs of their World Cup semi-final loss to South Africa as the two teams face one another for the first time in two years this weekend.
The Springboks beat Wales 19-16 in 2019 before going on to beat England in the final to claim the trophy. The hosts on Saturday will want to get revenge and bounce back from their defeat to New Zealand last Saturday.
Wayne Pivac’s side lost 54-16 to the All Blacks but were without several key players as the game was outside the international window. The team welcome back the likes of Dan Biggar and Louis Rees-Zammit for their clash against South Africa.
Wales have proven they can beat the Springboks in recent years, with 22-20 and 20-11 wins in 2018 and a 24-22 victory in 2017. In fact, the Boks haven’t beaten Wales in Cardiff since 2013 so the match at the Principality Stadium is set to be an enthralling encounter.
But who is starting for both teams and how can fans watch? Here’s all you need to know with our Wales v South Africa preview.
What’s the big team news?
Wales have made six changes to the team that started against New Zealand. Captain Alun Wyn Jones and back-rower Ross Moriarty are out with shoulder injuries so Will Rowlands and Ellis Jenkins start.
Wyn Jones drops to the bench with Rhys Carré starting, while Ellis Jenkins will play his first Test for three years after a series of knee injuries.
In the backs, Gallagher Premiership players Louis Rees-Zammit, Nick Tompkins and Dan Biggar all come into the starting XV having been unavailable for the New Zealand fixture.
On the bench, hooker Bradley Roberts and prop WillGriff John will look to win their first caps.
South Africa have made four changes to the team that beat New Zealand in their last fixture. Damian Willemse, Jesse Kriel and Herschel Jantjies all start while Cobus Reinach is on the bench.
Siya Kolisi continues his tenure as captain and Duane Vermeulen will provide experience and power at No 8.
The Springboks’ strength in depth is evident on the bench, with Vincent Koch, Steven Kitshoff and Franco Mostert amongst the replacements.
What have the coaches said?
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac: “South Africa coming to town, as world champions, offers a different challenge to New Zealand. They’ve got a massive forward pack, they’re big across the park really, and they bring a huge aerial threat so it’s going to be a different challenge.
“It’s a big Test match and we need to get what we think is the best side out there. We’re looking forward to having this side out there on the weekend and it’ll be really interesting to see how we go.
“There’s a lot of experience gone from the pack now and with what’s coming in terms of the South African pack, with their experience, it’s going to be a massive challenge for our boys and it’ll be interesting to see who steps up. Field position in this game is going to be massive, with the scrum that’s coming and lineout drive, so we have to make sure we’re smart in how we play the game.”
South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber: “Wales are a tough side to beat and our track record over here in the last few years is evidence of that.
“We also edged them in the Rugby World Cup semi-final, so we know that this is going to be a hard grind of a Test. They may have lost against the All Blacks last week but this result was in the absence of a number of key players, so this week will be a completely different proposition.
“They have a formidable pack of forwards and some equally experienced and high-calibre back-line players, several of whom played for the British & Irish Lions, and to add to this they will play in cool and possibly wet conditions that they are well suited to, so we know what we are in for.”
What time is kick-off and is Wales v South Africa on TV?
The match will kick-off at 5.30pm on Saturday 6 November at the Principality Stadium. Referee Paul Williams will take charge of the match, with Andrew Brace and James Doleman his assistants and Olly Hodges the TMO.
Wales v South Africa will be shown live on Amazon Prime Video.
Related: Autumn Nations Series TV coverage
What are the line-ups?
Wales: Johnny McNicholl; Louis Rees-Zammit, Jonathan Davies (captain), Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Rhys Carré, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Adam Beard, Ellis Jenkins, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright.
Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Wyn Jones, WillGriff John, Ben Carter, Seb Davies, Gareth Davies, Gareth Anscombe, Liam Williams.
South Africa: Damian Willemse; Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handré Pollard, Herschel Jantjies; Ox Nché, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi (captain), Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn.
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.