Tomos Williams to make Test debut against South Africa

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Wales v South Africa
Venue: RFK Stadium, Washington DC Date: Saturday, 2 June Kick-off: 22:00 BST
Coverage: Live scores and commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, Live commentary on Radio Wales AM and Radio Cymru

Wales coach Warren Gatland has made 13 changes for the Test against South Africa in Washington DC on Saturday.

Cardiff Blues scrum-half Tomos Williams is the only uncapped player in a team captained by Blues flanker Ellis Jenkins.

George North and Cory Hill are the only players retained from the Six Nations win over France in Cardiff in March.

Dragons flanker Aaron Wainwright is among the replacements and is in line to make his debut.

“Players aren’t just here to make up the numbers or hold tackle bags, we want everyone to get a chance,” Gatland said.

“So if you look at the squad, it’s mainly all those players who were with us for the first week, obviously the Scarlets were preparing for the final.

“Those players have had a couple of weeks training together in preparation so most of them are ready from the time that we’ve had together.”

Jenkins a future captain


Openside Jenkins will lead the team against the Springboks with with co-captain Hill, who also starts, in line to captain the side against Argentina in San Juan next week.

Gatland says he sees Jenkins as a potential permanent Wales captain of the future.

“Cory will probably be involved again next week, so he’ll probably do the job,” added Gatland.

“It’s about rotating those players. Ellis has had experience with it in the past, with Wales Under 20s – it was a great result for them beating Australia in the World Cup, by the way – and he’s had experience with the Cardiff Blues.

“I see him, potentially, as a future Wales captain and it’s a great opportunity for him to have this accolade and hopefully he gets a huge amount of support.”

A Test debut for scrum-half Williams

Tomos Williams in action for the Blues against Sale Sharks<!–

Blues half-back Williams toured with Wales last summer but was the only uncapped squad member not to win a first cap in matches against Tonga and Samoa and Gatland feels the 23-year-old has earned his opportunity.

“He’s forced his way in,” said Gatland. “He’s done his time with Cardiff Blues.

“He’s very combative and competitive and he’s got a little bit of an edge about him as a player.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him at this next level. There’s still a lot of development for him to do over the next 18 months or so but he’s one for the future.”

Prydie back from the international wilderness

Tom Prydie scored a try against Japan in his last appearances for Wales<!–

Scarlets wing Tom Prydie returns to international action having won his last cap during Wales’ tour of Japan in 2013.

The 26-year-old Test debut came against Italy in the 2010 Six Nations, when he was aged 18 years and 25 days.

“I think that’s, hopefully, a message to all players,” said Gatland.

“We picked him at a young age, he’s had a number of injuries over the last few seasons.

“It means we sometimes try players and they’re not ready at a young age but that doesn’t mean that, two or three years down the line, they can’t force their way back into a national squad.

“He gets a chance on this tour and hopefully, now that he’s a bit older and a bit more mature, we’ll see a good performance from him at the weekend.”

North shifts to centre

George North takes on Conor Murray of Ireland during the 2017 Six Nations<!–

North moves from wing to outside centre with Gatland admitting the 26-year-old could feature in midfield in the long term.

“He’s played there before, we’ve moved him there when we’ve had positional changes,” said Gatland.

“Long term I think he’s potentially an option in the midfield. We’ve seen players in the past that have started their international careers on the wing, like Tana Umaga and Ma’a Nonu, and then moved into the midfield.

“It’s not out of the realms of possibility that he could end up doing that in his career.”

Wales team: Hallam Amos; Tom Prydie, George North, Owen Watkin, Steff Evans; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee, Dillon Lewis; Cory Hill, Bradley Davies; Seb Davies, Ellis Jenkins (capt), Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Rhodri Jones, Adam Beard, Aaron Wainwright, Aled Davies, Rhys Patchell/Gareth Davies, Hadleigh Parkes.

South Africa: Curwin Bosch; Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi; Elton Jantjies, Ivan van Zyl; Ox Nche, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Wilco Louw, Jason Jenkins, Pieter-Steph du Toit (capt), Kwagga Smith, Oupa Mohoje, Dan du Preez

Replacements: Akker van der Merwe, Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Marvin Orie, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Embrose Papier, Robert du Preez, Warrick Gelant

Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU).

Assistant referees: Alexandre Ruiz (FR) and Frank Murphy (IRE).

TMO: David Grashoff (RFU).

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