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Johnny Williams and Alex Cuthbert Given Late Bid For World Cup Places With Wales

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By Gareth James

Wing Alex Cuthbert and centre Johnny Williams will make their first appearances of Wales’ World Cup warm-up schedule against South Africa on Saturday.

Williams partners Mason Grady in midfield, while there are also starts for the likes of scrum-half Kieran Hardy and hooker Elliot Dee.

Flanker Jac Morgan will captain Wales for the second time in three games, suggesting he is a firm favourite to skipper Wales at the World Cup.

Taine Basham, meanwhile, is among the replacements for the Springboks’ Principality Stadium visit.

Basham failed a head injury assessment following a shoulder-led tackle to his head by England captain Owen Farrell at Twickenham last weekend.

Farrell was sent off, but in a decision that sent shockwaves throughout the rugby world his red card was overturned by a disciplinary panel.

The Welsh Rugby Union said that Basham “was not a confirmed concussion following completion of all three stages of the head injury assessment (HIA) protocol”.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made 13 changes from the side edged out 19-17 by England, with only full-back Liam Williams and flanker Dan Lydiate remaining in his starting XV.

It will be the final chance for players to impress before he names Wales’ 33-player World Cup squad on Monday.

There are two uncapped players,on the bench in Cardiff forward Teddy Williams and Dragons back Cai Evans.

Gatland said: “Preparations have gone well. We are really pleased with the whole squad.

“We are trying to build some depth within the team, and there has been a great atmosphere.

“In the first couple of games what was really pleasing for me was the physicality we brought and the way we defended.

“There are still things for us to work on in terms of being much more accurate.

“There has been a lot of learning from that second England game, and hopefully we put that into practice against South Africa. There is another opportunity for this group of 23 players to put their hand up before we select the World Cup squad.”

Gatland’s opposite number Jacques Nienaber has selected a strong Springboks side, highlighted by the return from injury of their World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi.

“We are expecting confidence and physicality from South Africa. They don’t make a lot of mistakes,” Gatland added.

“But we’ve got a great chance to go out there in front of a home crowd and produce some of the good things that we did in both the games against England.

“We just need to make sure we play for 80 minutes and are accurate for 80 minutes.”

15. Liam Williams (Kubota Spears – 85 caps)
14. Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys / Gweilch – 57 caps)
13. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 3 caps)
12. Johnny Williams (Scarlets – 5 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons / Dreigiau – 8 caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Toulon – 109 caps)
9. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 17 caps)
1. Corey Domachowski ( Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 1 cap)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons / Dreigiau – 42 caps
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby / Caerdydd – 1 cap)
4. Ben Carter (Dragons / Dreigiau – 10 caps)
5. Will Rowlands (Dragons / Dreigiau – 24 caps)
6. Dan Lydiate (Dragons / Dreigiau – 70 caps)
7. Jac Morgan (Ospreys / Gweilch – 10 caps) captain / capten
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons / Dreigiau – 38 caps)

Replacements / Eilyddion
16. Sam Parry (Ospreys / Gweilch – 6 caps)
17. Nicky Smith (Ospreys / Gweilch – 43 caps)
18. Henry Thomas (Montpellier – 1 cap)
19. Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby/ Caerdydd – uncapped / heb gap)
20. Taine Basham (Dragons / Dreigiau – 12 caps)
21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby/ Caerdydd – 47 caps)
22. Max Llewellyn (Gloucester Rugby / Caerloyw – 1 cap)
23. Cai Evans (Dragons / Dreigiau – uncapped / heb gap)

Wales Accept Injury Risk And Reward As South Africa Loom Before World Cup Beckons

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