Autumn international: Wales seeking a rare victory against South Africa

Last Updated: 09/11/13 8:20am

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Wales will be seeking a rare victory against southern hemisphere opposition when they tackle South Africa at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

The nation has had no shortage of success under Warren Gatland's leadership, winning three Six Nations titles, two Grand Slams and also reaching a World Cup semi-final, but they have won just one match against the cream of the southern hemisphere during that five-year spell.

The Springboks will protect an immense South African record against Wales - 24 wins from 26 starts - and they have arrived in Cardiff battle-hardened from a Rugby Championship campaign that saw them finish second behind World Cup holders New Zealand.

The Springboks won four of their six games and scored 23 tournament tries, while 10 players that started an epic title decider against New Zealand will face Wales this weekend.

The fixture's one-sided history suggests another Springboks success this time around, but Wales have won two Six Nations titles since the countries' last meeting during World Cup 2011 and they also provided numerous individual success stories of the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia a few months ago.

Ospreys wing Eli Walker will make his Wales debut. He beat off competition from Liam Williams to take the place of Alex Cuthbert, who is ruled out with an ankle injury.

Centre partners

And with Jamie Roberts also absent, centre Scott Williams partners his Scarlets team-mate Jonathan Davies in midfield. Rhys Priestland returns at fly-half after missing last season's entire Six Nations campaign with an Achilles injury.

And Cardiff Blues lock Bradley Davies will partner Alun-Wyn Jones in the second row, with Luke Charteris having to settle for a place on the bench.

British & Irish Lions flanker Dan Lydiate will make his first appearance for Wales since the summer of 2012, having missed nearly a year's international rugby because of injury.

Mike Phillips starts at scrum-half despite not currently having a club after he was sacked by Bayonne last week.

The five Springboks players who did not start against New Zealand five weeks ago are Fourie, full-back Pat Lambie, wing JP Pietersen, lock Flip van der Merwe and debutant prop Frans Malherbe.

Malherbe replaces an injured Jannie du Plessis and Van der Merwe starts alongside Eben Etzebeth. There is no place in the match-day 23 for Toulon second-row forward Bakkies Botha, who only joined up with the squad on Tuesday.

Wales: L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); G North (Northampton), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (unattached); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), R Hibbard (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Racing Metro), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Bath), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), L Charteris (Perpignan), J Tipuric (Ospreys) Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), A Beck (Ospreys).

South Africa: P Lambie (Sharks); JP Pietersen (Panasonic Wild Knights), J Fourie (Kobe Steelers), J de Villiers (Western Province, capt), B Habana (Toulon); M Steyn (Blue Bulls), F du Preez (Suntory); T Mtawarira (Sharks), B du Plessis (Sharks), F Malberhe (Western Province), E Etzebeth (Western Province), F van der Merwe (Blue Bulls), F Louw (Bath), W Alberts (Sharks), D Vermeulen (Western Province).

Replacements: A Strauss (Cheetahs), G Steenkamp (Toulouse), C Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), P du Toit (Sharks), S Kolisi (Western Province), R Pienaar (Ulster), JJ Engelbrecht (Blue Bulls), W le Roux (Cheetahs).

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