Walker to make Wales debut against South Africa

Wales have announced their team to play South Africa in their opening Autumn
International Test match with Ospreys wing Eli Walker being named to make his
international debut.

Walker is the only uncapped player in the squad which sees the return from
injury of 2012 Grand Slam winning fly-half Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), and flanker
Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), who lines up for Wales for the first time since
the summer of 2012.

Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins will win his 99th cap and is joined in the
front row by the experienced duo of Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones (both Ospreys).
Bradley Davies (Blues) joins Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) in the second-row and
the back-row is an all British and Irish Lions’ affair with Lydiate playing
alongside Captain Sam Warburton (Blues) and Dragons’ Toby Faletau.

Mike Phillips will partner Priestland at half-back and the midfield is made
up of the Scarlets centre pairing of Scott Williams and Jonathan Davies.

Walker, 21, is joined by George North (Northampton Saints) on the wing, who
himself made his debut against the Springboks three years ago, scoring a brace
of tries. Cardiff Blues full-back Leigh Halfpenny wears fifteen.

The match against South Africa is the first of four autumn games at the Millennium
Stadium and head coach Warren Gatland knows it is going to be a huge encounter
on Saturday.

“We always say we like to test ourselves against the best and Saturday
is going to be just that with a huge game against South Africa first up,”
said Gatland.

“The Springboks arrive in the UK off the back of their impressive Rugby
Championship campaign and we know that we need to start well on Saturday.

“We go into the series as Six Nations Champions but we are looking forward
to testing ourselves against the southern hemisphere sides and showing what
we are can do.

“Since we have been together, competition in the squad has been good
and it is great to have both Rhys and Dan back available for us.

“Eli has impressed for his Region and whilst with us and it’s a great
opportunity for him to make his mark in a very experienced side.”

Wales

Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Davies
(Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Eli Walker (Ospreys), Rhys Priestland
(Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Unattached), Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Richard Hibbard
(Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys),
Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Sam Warburton (Blues, Capt), Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Paul James (Bath), Scott Andrews (Blues),
Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) Lloyd Williams (Blues),
James Hook (Perpignan), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

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