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Wales v Springboks Preview: Everything You Need to Know

Here’s what to expect from the highly-anticipated clash between the Boks and Wales.

Jeremy Proome



The Springboks will continue their onslaught of top-tier opposition in 2021, taking on Wales in Cardiff for the opener of their outgoing tour, and this match should prove an interesting test for both sides’ depth and endurance.

The teams last met in the Rugby World Cup semi-final in 2019, which proved to be a nail-biting affair, while a handful of players in the Welsh side had the honour of lining up against the Springboks in the Lions Series in Cape Town earlier this year, which the Boks won 2-1.

Damian Willemse, Jesse Kriel and Herschel Jantjies are among the four changes to the now-expected matchday squad that defeated the All Blacks on 2 October 2021.

Willemse, who has 14 Test caps, will earn his fourth start in the green and gold when he runs out at fullback, while it will be Jantjies’ third Test in the No 9 jersey as he pairs up with Handré Pollard in the halfback combination.

Jesse Kriel against Georga in August.

Kriel, who starts at right wing, will earn his 49th cap in the match. Kriel, who made his Test debut against Argentina in 2015, was a member of the triumphant Rugby World Cup squad in Japan two years ago, but he got injured in the opening game against the All Blacks and missed the remainder of the tournament, with Damian Willemse replacing him in the group.

Willemse comes in for Willie le Roux in a rotational switch, and Jantjies takes over from Faf de Klerk who was ruled out of the squad due to a hip flexor injury. Kriel replaces Sbu Nkosi, who is yet to travel to the UK as he awaits the necessary paperwork.

Jantjies’ promotion to the starting line-up sees Cobus Reinach being drafted onto the replacements bench in the only change among the reserves.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is clearly attempting to maintain consistency as much as possible, but still give those players who have been in and around the squad (and knocking on the door), a chance to start. Kriel and Willemse have been physical in their recent cameos, and should bring an edge to the Boks’ outside channels.

And this physicality will be needed, especially as the Six Nations champions will be playing with a near full-strength squad and the Boks have a mental-prison of not having won in Cardiff since 2013.

On the Welsh side, Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has made six changes to the starting XV that struggled against New Zealand last weekend.

Loosehead prop Rhys Carré comes into the front row alongside hooker Ryan Elias and tighthead prop Tomas Francis, with Wyn Jones moving to the replacements bench.

Dragons lock Will Rowlands links up with Ospreys lock Adam Beard in the second row to win his 12th international cap, and Cardiff’s Ellis Jenkins comes in for Moriarty in the back row, making his long-awaited return to international injury after suffering a knee injury against South Africa three years ago. Dragons pair Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright retain their places at seven and number 8 respectively.

Flyhalf Dan Biggar makes his 93rd appearance for Wales, returning to the starting line-up after touring with the British and Irish Lions.

Dan Biggar

Saracens centre Nick Tompkins partners up in midfield with captain Jonathan Davies, with Louis Rees-Zammit linking up in the back three with fellow winger Josh Adams and fullback Johnny McNicholl.

The replacements include two debutants, hooker Bradley Roberts and tighthead prop WillGriff John.

Fullback Liam Williams has made a return to fitness, after undergoing an appendectomy, and will take part in his first game of rugby since the last British & Irish Test, against South Africa, back in August.

With the changes and newcomers to the Welsh side, it’s likely that the Springboks will target the scrum, an area where South Africa’s notable experience will have an advantage, along with delivering some moon-balls through Pollard’s boots to the likes of McNicholl and Rees-Zammit.

Paul Williams (New Zealand) has been appointed the match referee and he will be assisted by Andrew Brace (Ireland) and James Doleman (New Zealand), while Olly Hodges (Ireland) will serve as the television match official.


Wales – 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Jonathan Davies (c), 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Josh Adams,  10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Ellis Jenkins, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Rhys Carré.
Subs: 16 Bradley Roberts, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 WillGriff John, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Seb Davies, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Liam Williams.

Springboks – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.

The match kicks off at 19:30 SA time on Saturday, 6 November, and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

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