Wales name strong side for first Bok Test

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Wales named a strong match 23 on Thursday for the first Test of the series against the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, putting a lot of experience on their bench.

Regular captain Alun Wyn Jones, with 150 Test caps, will be playing off the bench, while veteran flyhalf Dan Biggar will lead the side.

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The Welsh are gearing up for a huge battle and coach Wayne Pivac was quick to admit that they needed to get the balance right to make sure they were competitive throughout.

“You have to look at the South African side we are going to face. It’s a six-two (forwards-backs on bench) split as we expected. They’re going to be coming at us hard over the 80 minutes,” said Pivac.

“We are going to have a lot of experience from our bench to finish the game, so we have looked long and hard at who to start and who will finish the game, and we feel the balance on this occasion is the right one.”

Scrum battle

An important facet of the game will be the scrum battle, with Dillon Lewis, Ryan Elias and Gareth Thomas to front up against the massive Bok pack.

“Wyn (Jones) hasn’t played for a long time and has been out for months with that knee. He’s been getting back into some really solid training, so he’s probably been caught up about a week short, but he will certainly be pushing hard for selection going forward,” explained Pivac.

“But the guys are excited, they understand the challenge ahead of them. There are always some disappointed boys when you name a side, but we have now rallied around each other and are now pushing each other for a big performance this weekend.”

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It is set to be a massive challenge for Wales who will be looking to upset the odds and try pick up what would be a historic win over the Boks on the Highveld.

“It’s the world champions in their backyard at altitude, so it’s going to be a good Test for us. It’s going to show us exactly where we are.

“We can expose some weaknesses I’m sure and that will give us a lot to work on going forward.”

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