Gatland names Wales team for first test against South Africa

wruAdam Jones will win his 100th cap for Wales this weekend as part of a hugely experienced side to take on South Africa.

Ken Owens and Gethin Jenkins join him in the front row, while captain Alun Wyn Jones is joined by Luke Charteris in the second row. Aaron Shingler wins the battle with Josh Turnbull for the openside berth, and is joined by Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau in the back row.

The backline largely picks itself, with Mike Phillips and Dan Biggar starting at half back, Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies forming the centre partnership, and George North, Alex Cuthbert and Liam Williams forming a powerful back three.

The most intriguing selections come on the bench, where both Gareth Davies and Matthew Morgan are set to win their first caps should they come on.

Wales team to play South Africa:

Liam Williams (Scarlets), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), George North (Northampton Saints), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Alun Wyn Jones (Capt) (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Matthew Rees (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), James Hook (Perpignan), Matthew Morgan (Ospreys).

14 thoughts on “Gatland names Wales team for first test against South Africa

  1. It may be a massacre, there are to many “old” bodies in the Welsh Squad, even though we are playing SA, we should blood some new players, give then experience, the Workd Cup is next year, we need fresh blood.

    1. With Tipuric and Warburton out we need some breakdown prowess.. can’t ask Faletau to do it all himself..

    2. Yeah. James has been scrummaging incredibly well for Bath. Jenkins in redicovering some form, but agianst SA bth Jenkins and Jones will be destroyed.

      Also not convinced that Charteris lends enough bulk to front up against Botha and Matfield.

      That said, why are SA going back to Botha and Matfield. This does not look like forward planning. Will they last the match if Wales move them around the pitch?

      1. Jake Ball should there instead of Streakofp**** with Ianto the bench.

        If I was Matfield/Botha I’d laugh my socks off at the selection suchof a useless opponent in the 2nd row.

      2. I wouldn’t be so sure. The Sharks – who boast the du Plessis brothers and the Beast in their front row – haven’t had everything go there way at scrum time. Last game I saw, their scrum completion rate for the season was 11th in the entire S15 competition and they were getting smashed by the Crusaders duo of Crockett and Franks.
        Granted I haven’t seen any Ospreys games, so I don’t know if Jones has managed to adapt to the laws any better and find some form but I wouldn’t write the old hound off so easily against Steenkamp.
        Jenkins scrummaging has been suspect in my eye since the Autumn Internationals however.

  2. Wales are going to miss Halfpenny’s positioning at the back. He covers so much for the positional frailties of Cuthbert and North.

    1. Jonny, would have partly agreed with you before but a) North especially has improved a lot and b) Liam Williams is no slouch at FB. Yes, we will miss HP – any team that lost their outstanding FB would e.g. England/Brown, but Williams is looking like a brilliant 2nd and, possibly, has more counter attacking than 1/2p in him at the mo.

  3. First choice Gatland selection apart from the 7 and 15 injuries. I’m not convinced they will outmuscle SA though. Could have gone for some of the excellent players from the warm up game to add some fresh faces and give them top quality game time.

  4. Good team. Jenkins has found his old form for the Blues in the latter half of the season so is the right pick, especially for the breakdown. JD and JR have looked fresh, North has been good for Saints.

    I guess what’s really exciting is the new bench – we can mix things up – Cuthbert off, Williams on, Liam W off, Morgan on – also Hook (hmmm, not for me but I know he excites some), Samson Lee on for Jones. This is the best 22 we could have picked.

      1. I can’t agree. Charteris looked mean and hungry on Tuesday night. Was central to disrupting a few mauls (which I think SA will try and use a lot) and no longer just looks like a tall target for the lineout.

      1. Ha, good point Blub. My subconscious distrust of James Hook when he is near a rugby pitch strikes again.

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