Alex Cuthbert’s inclusion on the wing is the only change for Wales for their second rugby Test against South Africa on Saturday, in contrast to the home side who made 14 changes to their starting line-up for the clash in Bloemfontein.
Cuthbert comes in for Josh Adams, who is dropped to the bench after Wales lost 32-29 in a heart-breaking last-gasp defeat in last weekend’s first Test in Pretoria.
Front rower Sam Wainwright could be in line to make his Test debut from the bench as he is one of three changes among the replacements.
He comes in for Tomas Francis, who was sent home after suffering concussion some 30 seconds after coming on as a replacement in the first Test.
Wyn Jones replaces Rhys Carre and Adams takes the place of Owen Watkin.
“Alex Cuthbert has been training really well. He’s six foot four, good in the air and runs all day. I think there will be plenty of aerial battles,” said Wales coach Wayne Pivac on Thursday.
“Sam Wainwright has been very excited to join us. From day one he’s been training really well. I know he’s over the moon at his selection in the match-day 23 and his family are over here so he’s looking forward to a big day.”
South Africa have been criticised for the wholesale changes to their team, which they named on Tuesday. The experimentation by the Springboks was deemed “disrespectful” by Welsh great Gareth Edwards earlier this week.
“It hasn’t changed our preparation at all,” said Pivac. “It’s going to be 15 rugby players in green shirts. We’re expecting more of the same. They are a very experienced team no matter what combinations they put out. This side is one to be respected and not taken lightly.”
Team: 15. Liam Williams, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. George North, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Alex Cuthbert, 10. Dan Biggar (captain), 9. Kieran Hardy, 1. Gareth Thomas, 2. Ryan Elias, 3. Dillon Lewis, 4. Will Rowlands, 5. Adam Beard, 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Taulupe Faletau. Res: 16. Dewi Lake , 17. Wyn Jones, 18. Sam Wainwright,, 19. Alun Wyn Jones, 20. Josh Navidi, 21. Tomos Williams,, 22. Gareth Anscombe, 23. Josh Adams.