Ellis Jenkins to play in his first Wales Test for three years against world champions South Africa this weekend in place of injured Ross Moriarty, while Dan Biggar and Louis Rees-Zammit will also start
- Ellis Jenkins has been recalled for Wales for Saturday’s Test with South Africa
- The No 6 is named at back row alongside Aaron Wainwright and Taine Basham
- Ross Moriarty is set to join Alun Wyn Jones on the injury table for months
- Dan Biggar and Louis Rees-Zammit will also start against the world champions
Ellis Jenkins will play his first Wales Test in three years, facing the same opposition he badly injured his knee against in 2018, as Dan Biggar and Louis Rees-Zammit start against South Africa too.
Flanker Jenkins, 28, badly damaged several knee ligaments against the Springboks in the final throes of a man of the match performance and will return to the Welsh back-row 1,079 days later.
He is in for the injured Ross Moriarty, who is out for months like captain Alun Wyn Jones having suffered a shoulder injury. Jenkins will start wearing No 6 with back-row tyros Aaron Wainwright at No 8 and Taine Basham continuing at openside.
Ellis Jenkins (middle) will play in his first Wales Test for three years against South Africa
Dan Biggar (second right) and Louis Rees-Zammit (far right) will also start on Saturday in Wales
Replacing skipper Jones is lock Will Rowlands, one of six changes to Wayne Pivac’s starting XV having been thrashed 54-16 against New Zealand last week.
Biggar starts at fly-half, with Rees-Zammit on the wing and Nick Tompkins preferred to Johnny Williams at centre – the English-based trio back from their exile having missed the out-of-window All Blacks Test.
Up front Rhys Carré plays instead of Wyn Jones as Gareth Anscombe moves to the bench easing out Rhys Priestland.
Liam Williams, recovered from an operation to remove his appendix last month, is fit to make the bench but Ken Owens has not made it after injuring his back last week.
Wayne Pivac has branded the Principality Stadium clash as a ‘big Test match’ on Saturday
It means uncapped Bradley Roberts, as well as prop WillGriff John, could make their debuts against the world champions who have not won in Cardiff since 2013.
‘South Africa coming to town, as world champions, offers a different challenge to New Zealand. They’ve got a massive forward pack, they’re big across the park really, and they bring a huge aerial threat so it’s going to be a different challenge,’ said Pivac.
‘It’s a big Test match and we need to get what we think is the best side out there. We’re looking forward to having this side out there on the weekend and it’ll be really interesting to see how we go.
‘There’s a lot of experience gone from the pack now and with what’s coming in terms of the South African pack, with their experience, it’s going to be a massive challenge for our boys and it’ll be interesting to see who steps up.
‘Field position in this game is going to be massive, with the scrum that’s coming and line out drive, so we have to make sure we’re smart in how we play the game.’
Wales team to face South Africa – Sat 6th November 2021
15 Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby), 13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets – Capt), 12 Nick Tompkins (Saracens), 11 Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby), 10 Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints), 9 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby); 1 Rhys Carré (Cardiff Rugby), 2 Ryan Elias (Scarlets), 3 Tomas Francis (Ospreys), 4 Will Rowlands (Dragons), 5 Adam Beard (Ospreys), 6 Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Rugby), 7 Taine Basham (Dragons), 8 Aaron Wainwright (Dragons)
16 Bradley Roberts (Ulster – uncapped), 17 Wyn Jones (Scarlets), 18 WillGriff John (Scarlets – uncapped), 19 Ben Carter (Dragons), 20 Seb Davies (Cardiff Rugby), 21 Gareth Davies (Scarlets), 22 Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys), 23 Liam Williams (Scarlets)