Saturday, July 20, 2024

Jac Morgan: Wales flanker ruled out of South Africa Test and Australia tour with hamstring injury -Dlight News

Wales have been dealt a major injury blow with flanker Jac Morgan ruled out of Saturday’s Test match against South Africa and the summer tour to Australia.

Morgan, who was Wales’ World Cup co-captain with Dewi Lake last year, missed this season’s Six Nations because of a knee injury.

But he now has a hamstring problem that he suffered during Ospreys’ United Rugby Championship quarter-final defeat against Munster.

The Welsh Rugby Union announced that Morgan has been released from the squad, meaning he misses the Springboks encounter and Tests in Australia on July 6 and 13.

Hooker Lake, who also sat out the Six Nations due to injury, will be captain against South Africa at Twickenham, with James Botham wearing the number seven shirt and lining up in a back-row that also includes Taine Plumtree and Aaron Wainwright.

Wales captain Dewi Lake
Dewi Lake will captain Wales against South Africa at Twickenham

Cardiff scrum-half Ellis Bevan is handed a Test debut, while Liam Williams makes a first Wales appearance since the 2023 World Cup.

Williams, who missed this season’s Six Nations due to club commitments in Japan, returns alongside back-three colleagues Cameron Winnett and Rio Dyer.

Wales are without their England-based players – the likes of Nick Tompkins, Dafydd Jenkins and Tommy Reffell – because the game falls outside World Rugby’s summer Test window and means they cannot be considered for selection.

Wales have been badly hit in the second-row department, with Six Nations skipper Jenkins and his Exeter colleague Christ Tshiunza both unavailable, Will Rowlands being rested and Adam Beard injured.

Matthew Screech and Ben Carter are the locks selected to start against the world champions. Screech, 31, made his only previous Wales appearance as a replacement against Argentina in 2021, while Carter was last involved during the World Cup warm-up Tests almost a year ago.

There are three uncapped players on the bench, meanwhile, in Ospreys forward James Ratti, Scarlets centre Eddie James and Cardiff back Jacob Beetham.

South Africa are the ‘home’ team on Saturday, with Twickenham their choice of venue, and Wales go into the game following six successive Test defeats.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “We have our backs to the wall a little bit this week, but we are really excited about the challenge on Saturday.

“Facing the world champions at Twickenham Stadium will be a great occasion, and we are relishing the opportunity to get out there and put in a performance.

“We have a big week ahead of us with this young squad, but the coaches and I have been very happy with the effort that is 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, 1 Gareth Thomas, 2 Dewi Lake (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 4 Matthew Screech, 5 Ben Carter, 6 Taine Plumtree, 7 James Botham, 8 Aaron Wainwright.

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.

Four debutants in Springboks matchday squad

World champions South Africa have named uncapped Jordan Hendrikse at fly half and Edwill van der Merwe on the wing in a much-changed squad for the Twickenham clash, with Pieter-Steph du Toit to lead the side.

Flanker Ben-Jason Dixon and utility back Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu are also likely to make their debuts off the bench as coach Rassie Erasmus opts for a rare, for him, 5-3 split between forwards and backs among the replacements.

The fixture in London falls outside of the international window, leaving the Springboks without several of their first-choice players in England and France, as well as those from the Bulls, who host Glasgow Warriors in the United Rugby Championship final on the same day.

“Edwill, Jordan, Ben-Jason, and Sacha have really impressed us at training, and we believe they have what it takes to make their presence felt against a quality team such as Wales,” Erasmus said.

“They will be surrounded by several experienced campaigners, some of whom are Rugby World Cup winners, so they will have enough guidance on the field to fulfil their roles even when the pressure is on.”

South Africa: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit (c), 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Ox Nche.

Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 23 Damian de Allende.

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