Eleven Welsh Lions to face Boks
Tue, 05 Nov 2013 13:02
We like to test ourselves against the best and Saturday is going to be just that
The Wales starting line-up to face the Springboks at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday features 11 British and Irish Lions players.
Ospreys wing Eli Walker will make his debut in a side which sees the return from injury of 2012 Grand Slam winning flyhalf Rhys Priestland, and flank Dan Lydiate, who lines up for Wales for the first time since last year.
Prop Gethin Jenkins will win his 99th cap and is joined in the front row by the experienced duo of Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones.
Bradley Davies joins Alun Wyn Jones in the second row and the loose trio is an all British and Irish Lions' affair with Lydiate playing alongside Captain Sam Warburton and Toby Faletau.
Mike Phillips will partner Priestland at halfback and the midfield is made up of the Scarlets centre pairing of Scott Williams and Jonathan Davies.
The 21-year-old Walker is joined by George North on the wing, who himself made his debut against the Springboks three years ago, scoring a brace of tries, with Leigh Halfpenny taking his place at fullback.
The match against South Africa is the first of four games at the Millennium Stadium and head coach Warren Gatland knows it is going to be a huge encounter on Saturday.
"We always say we like to test ourselves against the best and Saturday is going to be just that with a huge game against South Africa first up," said Gatland.
"The Springboks arrive in the UK off the back of their impressive Rugby Championship campaign and we know that we need to start well on Saturday.
"We go into the series as Six Nations Champions but we are looking forward to testing ourselves against the southern hemisphere sides and showing what we are can do.
"Since we have been together, competition in the squad has been good and it is great to have both Rhys and Dan back available for us.
"Eli has impressed for his region and whilst with us and it's a great opportunity for him to make his mark in a very experienced side," he added.
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Liam Williams.
Date: Saturday, November 9
Venue: Millenium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 17.30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)
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