We look forward to Saturday’s clash at Principality Stadium with Wales aiming for their fifth consecutive home win over South Africa in Cardiff.
Wayne Pivac’s team opened the Autumn Nations Series campaign with a 54-16 defeat to New Zealand last weekend.
How will Wales fare without its captain?
Since being selected for his test debut against Argentina in Patagonia 15 years ago, Alun Wyn Jones has participated in 149 of Wales’ subsequent 194 test matches, starting with 138 of them.
The 36-year-old’s consistency in performance has rarely diminished and he captained Wales at the last World Cup, also holding the world record for most test match appearances.
Jones is now absent, however, missing the rest of the Autumn Nations Series and likely all of the 2022 Six Nations Championship after suffering a repeat of his shoulder injury from the summer against New Zealand last weekend requiring surgery. Wales must find a way to get by without him, particularly on set pieces.
South Africa: a physical opponent like no other
The Springboks showcased on rugby’s biggest stage, a World Cup final, power and set piece supremacy that is a trademark of their game.
On that occasion in Yokohama two years ago, England had no response to this domination, and promptly withered, suffering a 32-12 defeat.
South Africa will start with the same package against Wales that claimed victory over New Zealand rugby league opponents last month, and while the home team knows exactly what’s happening to them – a finely tuned behemoth – stopping it is a proposition. completely different.
Home sweet home for Wales?
Wales have an impressive recent record at Principality Stadium, most notably against South Africa.
After the Springboks won 16 consecutive home and away games at Wales’ expense between 2000 and 2014, the balance tipped slightly, with the Springboks losing in their last four visits to Cardiff and not winning in the Welsh capital for eight years.
Against all-out opponents, Wales can reflect on just four defeats in their last 21 field trials, winning 16 and one draw, having beaten England, Ireland, France and Australia – as well as South Africa – at that time.
The return of Ellis Jenkins is to be savored
It has been three years since this month that Cardiff flanker Jenkins played his last test match – against South Africa in Cardiff.
On that occasion, he delivered a man of the match performance before cruelly suffering a severe knee injury during the final minutes that shattered his 2019 World Cup dream.
He sidelined him from all rugby for 26 months, but Jenkins gradually turned back, gaining selection for the Wales autumn team and securing a starting spot when he reunited with the Springboks. A special player who has overcome adversity.
Who is Bradley Roberts?
Not even Wales’ most cultured fan would have the 25-year-old Ulster prostitute on their radar, but coach Pivac did.
Injuries to Ken Owens and Elliot Dee have reduced Wales’ resources, with the summons of Kirby Myhill of Cardiff and Roberts, who was born in South Africa but qualifies for Wales thanks to his paternal grandmother born in Ceredigion.
Roberts, who is on the bench against South Africa, made his Ulster debut just a year ago, but Pivac said: “We see an exciting prospect. We see it in the offensive side of the game which has a lot of skill and a lot of skill. He’s got a lot of skill. a good defensive brain on him. “
Wales: 15 Johnny McNicholl; 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Jonathan Davies (c), 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Josh Adams; 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Rhys Carre, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Will Rowlands, 5 Adam Beard, 6 Ellis Jenkins, 7 Taine Basham, 8 Aaron Wainwright
Replacements: 16 Bradley Roberts, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 WillGriff John, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Seb Davies, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Liam Williams.
South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 1 Ox Nche, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Lood de Jager, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Kwagga Smith, 8 Duane Vermeulen.
Substitutions: 16 – Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.