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Gatland brings in Kiwi blood for Bok face-off

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Warren Gatland has named the Wales team to face South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

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Hooker Dewi Lake will captain the side for this match.

Scrumhalf Ellis Bevan will make his international debut, becoming the 1,203-third player to represent Wales.

Joining Lake in the front row are Gareth Thomas (loosehead prop) and Henry Thomas (tighthead prop).

Dragons duo Matthew Screech and Ben Carter are selected in the second row.

Taine Plumtree is named at blindside flank and will win his third cap having last featured for Wales against England at Twickenham Stadium in August 2023.

James Botham, who was called up to the squad on Monday, starts at openside flank.

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Jac Morgan has been released from the squad due to a hamstring injury suffered in Ospreys URC quarterfinal loss against Munster and will not partake in any of Wales’ mid-year fixtures.

Aaron Wainwright completes the back row at No.8.

Sam Costelow is at flyhalf.

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Mason Grady and Owen Watkin pair up in the midfield.

Liam Williams, named on the wing, makes his first appearance for Wales since World Cup.

Rio Dyer is also on the wing, with Cameron Winnett at fullback.

There are three possible debutants among Wales’ replacements for the match.

Joining Eddie James and Jacob Beetham on the bench is the uncapped James Ratti (Ospreys), who was called up to the squad on Tuesday.

Able to cover second row and across the back row, Ratti – like James and Beetham – would win his first senior international cap if called on as a replacement this weekend.

Gareth Davies provides cover at scrumhalf.

Evan Lloyd, Kemsley Mathias, Keiron Assiratti and Mackenzie Martin are the other forwards named as replacements.

“We have our backs to the wall a little bit this week, but we’re excited about the challenge on Saturday,” Gatland said.

“Facing the world champions at Twickenham Stadium will be a great occasion and we’re relishing the opportunity to get out there and perform.

“We have a big week ahead of us with this young squad, but the coaches and I have been happy with the effort that’s going in.

“There’s a huge amount of potential in this group and the next five weeks will be extremely important for us in terms of wanting to develop this team.”

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Mason Grady, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Ellis Bevan, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 James Botham, 6 Taine Plumtree, 5 Ben Carter, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Dewi Lake (captain), 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Evan Lloyd, 17 Kemsley Mathias, 18 Keiron Assiratti, 19 James Ratti, 20 Mackenzie Martin, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Eddie James, 23 Jacob Beetham.

Date: Saturday, June 22
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 14.00 (15.00 SA time; 13.00 GMT)
Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Adam Leal (England)
TMO: Mark Patton (Ireland)

Warren Gatland with quote ahead of Boks

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