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South Africa 16:05 Australia

Wales prepare for first Test against South Africa with Eastern Kings warm-up

Last Updated: 11/06/14 11:25pm

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Warren Gatland will finalise his plans for Wales’ first Test against South Africa with a tour match against the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Wales will face the Eastern Cape side live on Sky Sports at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium before heading to Kings Park in Durban to face the Springboks on Saturday.

Head coach Gatland revealed the decision to have a short turnaround between the tour match and the first Test against the side ranked second in the world is to replicate the intensity his players will face at next year’s World Cup.

The New Zealand-born coach believes such scheduling will benefit Wales as they prepare for the world’s biggest tournament on British soil.

"A big part of this tour and of wanting this game has been about planning and preparation for the World Cup - trying to cope with a short turnaround, picking (different) players and players having to back up," Gatland said at his pre-match news conference.

"If we can come through this and players can back up for the following week we know that in 12 months' time when we go through the same exercise we will have had the same experience.

"That's why this is good for us mentally and physically. We're expecting a tough, physical encounter - I wouldn't expect anything else from a South African team."

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Racing Metro flanker Dan Lydiate will captain Wales for the warm-up match, with Gatland expected to offer a run out to all four uncapped players in the squad.

"A big part of this tour and of wanting this game has been about planning and preparation for the World Cup - trying to cope with a short turnaround."
Warren Gatland

Three of those players are named in the starting XV with Matthew Morgan lining up at full-back, Steven Shingler at inside centre and Jordan Williams on the wing, while Gareth Davies features among the replacements.

In the backline Cardiff Blues duo Alex Cuthbert and Cory Allen join the uncapped trio, while James Hook and Rhodri Williams form the half-back pairing.

Up front, Paul James is named alongside Scott Baldwin and Rhodri Jones in the front-row with Jake Ball and Ian Evans in the second-row. Lydiate is joined by Scarlets Josh Turnbull at flanker with Dan Baker at No 8.

On the bench Matthew Rees is named in a Wales squad for the first time since February 2013 after overcoming testicular cancer, while Northampton Saints winger George North and Scarlets flyer Liam Williams provide attacking options.

Eastern Province: 15 Graaff, 14 Soyizwapi, 13 Cooke, 12 Gates, 11 Van Breda, 10 Whitehead, 9 Luiters; 1 Gqoboka, 2 Marutlulle, 3 Du Plessis, 4 Nell (capt), 5 Lindsay, 6 Bholi, 7 Oosthuizen, 8 Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 De Swardt, 17 Uys, 18 Kerrod, 19 Cummins, 20 Willemse, 21 Grobler, 22 Jenner, 23 Dukisa.

Wales: 15 Morgan, 14 Cuthbert, 13 Allen, 12 S Shingler, 11 Williams, 10 Hook, 9 Williams; 1 James, 2 Baldwin, 3 Jones, 4 Ball, 5 Evans, 6 Lydiate (capt), 7 Turnbull, 8 Baker.
Replacements: 16 Rees, 17 Jarvis, 18 Lee, 19 Charteris, 20 A Shingler, 21 Davies, 22 North, 23 L Williams.

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