Wales heartbreak as last-gasp penalty earns South Africa nail-biting victory

·28 min read
South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi scores a try - AFP
South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi scores a try - AFP

Wayne Pivac admitted in the build-up to this Test that he hadn't slept properly for three months since that chastening defeat to Italy, and the way events unfolded in Pretoria will have given the Wales head coach even more nightmares.

Wales led by 15 points at half-time and were drawing 29-29 with the clock in the red when Damian Willemse stepped up to play the role which usually goes to Morné Steyn, landing a late penalty to give South Africa victory and crush Welsh hearts.

Wales have never won in South Africa but for so long in this first Test it seemed like that drought may come to an end. They deservedly led 18-3 at half-time thanks to two moments of real quality from Louis Rees-Zammit, scoring twice as South Africa stuttered their way through their first hitout since the autumn.

But the combination of altitude and South Africa's strength in depth always left the door open for a fightback. It took a hat-trick of maul tries, one each from Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx plus a penalty try, to reel Wales in.

The only shock was that Wales, despite having multiple players on yellow cards, came up with a stunning maul try scored by Dewi Lake to level the scores at 29-all late on. Dan Biggar, the Wales captain, missed the conversion and then the decision by Tomos Williams to kick away possession proved costly, with Willemse on hand to strike after Biggar's deliberate knock-on gave away a penalty.

Dan Biggar gestures to the referee - AP
Dan Biggar gestures to the referee - AP

This was still a performance for Wales to be proud of but their lack of discipline killed them, conceding four yellow cards overall including three in the final 14 minutes.

"It was a huge effort," Pivac said. "When you're down to 12 men against the world champions here, it's very difficult. The effort was huge, with discipline we were on the wrong side of the referee today and we need to go away and look at the penalties and yellow cards."

Admitting that Wales would have taken a draw, a "very proud" Pivac added: "That was a big step up from our last performance. We've worked so hard this week and people will see we've put in a solid effort.

Once the first-half rust wore off, following a poor 40 minutes where at times they were wildly inaccurate, South Africa began to settle into their groove. Not all the blame can be pinned on Elton Jantjies' shoulders at fly-half, but the Springboks improved significantly after he was replaced.

"It was tough out there, just like we predicted," admitted Siya Kolisi, the South Africa captain. "[Wales] stopped our mauls in the first half so we couldn't get going. The way we came back as a team, that's what we take pride in."

Wales couldn't have wished for a better start in front of a sold-out Loftus, the first home crowd to see the Springboks since their World Cup victory. Give Rees-Zammit space and he will punish you. A spilled lineout by Lood de Jager allowed Wales to counter before Liam Williams fed the Gloucester wing who burned off the covering defence to score. With Dan Biggar's drop-goal then sneaking over the crossbar - awarded after a TMO check - Wales edged further ahead to 8-0.

Louis Rees-Zammit dives over in the corner - REUTERS
Louis Rees-Zammit dives over in the corner - REUTERS

Jantjies and Biggar then traded penalties and a second Jantjies miss stirred groans out of Loftus. With South Africa lacking fluidity the murmurs of discontent continued to grow, the in-form Wales debutant Tommy Reffell pouncing for a turnover.

Wales took that and turned it into a second try, Rees-Zammit hacking through a loose ball and out-pacing Makazole Mapimpi to score. Wales were out of sight leading 18-3 and deservedly led at the break.

Maul tries from Mbonambi and Marx then fired up South Africa but Biggar gave Wales an immediate response with three points to make it 21-15, hoping his side would settle. And Wales did to a certain extent, just as errors crept back into South Africa's game with two poor kicks by Faf de Klerk.

Rees-Zammit continued to thrive, his dangerous carry sparking an attack which culminated in three more points from Biggar to extend Wales' lead to nine points.

But South Africa roared again. Two thundering runs had Wales on the back foot before the ball was worked wide and Damian de Allende produced a delicate grubber for Cheslin Kolbe to collect and score in the corner. Willemse converted brilliantly, cutting Wales' lead to two points with Alun Wyn Jones also sin-binned.

Cheslin Kolbe dots down in the corner - REUTERS
Cheslin Kolbe dots down in the corner - REUTERS

Wales desperately scrapped to maintain their narrow two-point lead, not always legally with Rees-Zammit sin-binned for killing the ball and tackling Willie Le Roux. Given South Africa now had two extra players, the outcome felt inevitable.

The subsequent penalty was sent to the corner and South Africa took the lead for the first time with a penalty try with five minutes left, another yellow card putting Wales down to 12.

Yet a penalty for hands in the ruck gave Wales hope, leading to Lake's maul try, before Willemse stepped up to secure the win.

Match details

Scoring sequence: 0-5 Rees-Zammit try; 0-8 Biggar drop goal; 3-8 E Jantjies pen; 3-11 Biggar pen; 3-16 Rees-Zammit try; 3-18 Biggar con; 8-18 Mbonambi try; 10-18 Willemse con; 15-18 Marx try; 15-21 Biggar pen; 15-24 Biggar pen; 20-24 Kolbe try; 22-24 Biggar con; 29-24 Penalty try South Africa; 29-29 Lake try; 32-29 Willemse pen

South Africa: D Willemse; C Kolbe, L Am, D de Allende, M Mapimpi; E Jantjies (W le Roux 40), F de Klerk (H Jantjies 71); O Nche (S Kitshoff 48), B Mbonambi (M Marx 48), F Malherbe (V Koch 48), E Etzebeth ( S Moerat 70), L de Jager, S Kolisi (K Smith 51), F Mostert (E Louw 51), J Wiese

Wales: L Williams; L Rees-Zammit, G North, N Tompkins, J Adams (O Watkin 63); D Biggar, K Hardy (T Williams 55); G Thomas (R Carre 51), R Elias (D Lake 51), D Lewis (T Francis 51), W Rowlands, A Beard (AW Jones 51), D Lydiate (J Navidi 63), T Reffell, T Faletau
Not used: G Anscombe
Yellow cards: Biggar 37, AW Jones 66, Rees-Zammit 74, Faletau 77

Referee: N Amashukeli (Geo)

Attendance: 51,762

South Africa v Wales, first Test: as it happened

06:47 PM

Nerves of steel

Here's a look at that fairytale moment for Willemse:

06:37 PM

Crushing for Wales

Wales were so close to a history-making victory but discipline cost them in the end.

They will have two more opportunities to get their first win on South African soil in this three-Test series.

I'm just about getting my breath back after that one, what an absolute thriller!

06:30 PM

Wayne Pivac speaks

Pivac told Sky of his disappointment of the last minute loss to South Africa.

It was a huge effort but when you are down 12 men against the world champions it is very, very difficult. Discipline, we were on the wrong side of the referee today.

The effort was there. It was more under pressure and fatigue [which forced errors]. It's such a shame we lost it at the end, I would have taken a draw.

I'm disappointed for the players as they have worked so hard this week.

I'm proud but it's one that got away, world champions in their back yard. We will roll our sleeves for next week.

06:27 PM

Kolisi speaks on the comeback

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi spoke to Sky on that stunning Test

It was tough out there. They took a lot of control, we couldn't get going. The way we came back, we will take pride. Wales are always tough, they come out guns blazing.

This [the supporters] is what we do it for. The country is going through so much, every single time we play the country is going through something. This is why we never give up.. this is more than a game to us.

Wales knew exactly what we wanted to do, we couldn't get in the game.

06:20 PM

Lydiate speaks

Dan Lydiate, who returned to international rugby today, spoke to Sky post-match.

Pretty gutted to be honest. There were a lot of momentum shifts in that game. We thought we had nicked it but it wasn't meant to be.

Very disappointed after the Six Nations and we wanted to put in a good performance in this Test and restore some pride in the jersey. We came here to win and we are gutted.

Discipline, we talk about being disciplined heading into this game. You have to give credit to South Africa, they never stop playing.

06:17 PM

What a moment

Willemse  kicked his team to victory after a strong Welsh performance. Here's a look at his nerve-free kick:

south africa v wales live score 2022 tour first test result
south africa v wales live score 2022 tour first test result

06:13 PM

FULL-TIME! South Africa 32-29 Wales

Wales had the lead for the majority of that encounter but two decisive moments, both including Biggar, sees South Africa win this thrilling match.

Wales had full control in the first half, blowing South Africa away. But the Boks came out firing in the second half to execute a stunning comeback.

Wayne Pivac's side will have to wait to get their first win on South African soil.

06:13 PM

PENALTY WILLEMSE! South Africa 32-29 Wales

A fairytale ending for South Africa! Willemse kicks a stunning penalty to seal the win for South Africa, I am speechless.

06:12 PM

81 min - South Africa 29-29 Wales

Wiese has been given Man of the Match!

A deliberate knock-on from Wales, slightly controversial with it looking like South Africa had knocked it on.

Willemse is lining up to kick this to win it, can he do it?

06:09 PM

79 min - South Africa 29-29 Wales

Only a minute to go in this thrilling match!

The Boks were attacking but they kicked it out of play, Wales now in possession. Can someone bag the win here?

06:07 PM

TRY LAKE! South Africa 29-29 Wales

WOW!!

Lake powers over from a maul, pressure on Biggar to potentially seal Wales' first ever win on South African soil.

The pressure seeps through, he clips it wide.

06:06 PM

76 min - South Africa 29-24 Wales

Can Wales comeback now? This is absolutely cut throat, South Africa ahead for the first time.

Biggar kicks to the corner at Wales get a penalty, this is a thrilling end to a classic international Test!

AWJ returns to the field so Wales are now 13 men strong to South Africa's 15.

06:05 PM

PENALTY TRY! South Africa 29-24 Wales

The maul is dropped to the floor by Wales and so the try is given to South Africa.

And with that penalty, Carre gets a yellow! Wales are down to 12, this game has gone from their control now.

06:03 PM

YELLOW CARD REES-ZAMMIT - South Africa 22-24 Wales

While the check was happening the boxing claxon goes again with tempers starting to fray.

It looks like no try but there is a penalty, coming from Rees-Zammit who slowed the ball down at the breakdown.

There was talk of a penalty try but it wasn't given. Wales down to 13 for the last moments of this contest.

06:01 PM

73 min - South Africa 22-24 Wales

De Klerk is off with H Jantjies on for South Africa as the hosts look to seal a comeback.

We get back underway with a Welsh scrum and it is almost crumbled by the bomb squad but it is diffused for now.

Biggar cleared the lines with Mapimpi collecting and setting the hosts on their way. Kolbe made a great break and South Africa could taste blood. Rees-Zammit again with a try saving tackle and then North holds it up - or has he?

There's a try check here, nervous moments!

05:58 PM

71 min - South Africa 22-24 Wales

Mapimpi looked as though he would score but a tap tackle from Rees-Zammit on Am sees the ball go forward.

That could be a crucial moment if Wales go onto win this.

05:56 PM

70 min - South Africa 22-24 Wales

It will be crucial for Wales to keep the ball for a while but Biggar decides to kick it away for territory - a risky move when they are down to 14 with a ferocious South Africa eyeing a comeback.

Kolbe and Biggar are having a few choice words  and the boxing ring claxon goes again. South Africa are on the hunt for another try now, it is tense in Pretoria!

Etzebeth is replaced.

05:53 PM

YELLOW CARD WYN JONES! South Africa 22-23 Wales

There's some confusion here, it looked as though AWJ had been yellow carded but he walked on an off the pitch.

But, in the end, it's confirmed! The stalwart for Wales is off.

I believe it was for actions in the lead up to that try but it isn't too clear.

05:51 PM

TRY KOLBE! South Africa 22-24 Wales

Louw made an exceptional break and the Boks put the ball through the hands and, of course, wing Kolbe dots down!

That was a cracking, cracking team try and a great return for Kolbe at international level.

Willemse bagged the extras with a great kick from the corner, that was inch perfect!

05:48 PM

PENALTY BIGGAR! South Africa 15-24 Wales

And that kick takes them past a converted try, a huge moment in this match!

05:47 PM

62 min - South Africa 15-21 Wales

Possession exchanged hands multiple times before Wales got a foothold, getting an advantage and making the most of it.

The South African defence is proving a headache in this second half for Wales. That was doubled down as Biggar opted to kick to the sticks.

05:45 PM

60 min - South Africa 15-21 Wales

There was a break for another water break but it got back underway with a Wales line-out, AWJ catching and urging a drive.

South Africa defend it perfectly though as they push them into touch. It got worse for Wales as they closed the gap at the line-out so South Africa had more territory but De Klerk made another error with a clearance kick going to touch.

It was a lucky escape for Wales there, who launch another attack.

05:42 PM

57 min - South Africa 15-21 Wales

De Klerk kicked a ball for territory but it goes dead, it comes back for a Wales scrum.

Wales come away with it and kick it away through Rees-Zammit, De Klerk manages to clear their line.

The South African replacements have done a job here but the sloppiness is creeping back into their game. If they can keep their momentum the Boks will surely win this game.

05:39 PM

PENALTY BIGGAR! South Africa 15-21 Wales

This half has been all South Africa so far, they have improved a lot from the first half.

The first clear mistake sees Biggar point to the sticks for a penalty. The crowd jeered him but he slotted it home.

05:35 PM

TRY MARX! South Africa 15-18 Wales

Well, the tide is turning.

The maul works wonders again, this time Marx seeing the benefits. The extras are missed by Willemse.

T Williams is on for Wales.

05:34 PM

A worry for Francis

This is another head hit Francis has taken after being knocked out against England in the Six Nations earlier this year.

Hopefully he is okay, Lewis has come back on in his place (I missed that change earlier, apologies).

05:32 PM

50 min - South Africa 10-18 Wales

The line-out was good but Wales' defence repelled a repeat performance for the maul.

South Africa stretched the ball out wide with Le Roux feeding Kolbe but it ends in another scuffle. There could be a card here, the ref did warn them.

Francis is down after a knee accidentally hit his head and will be heading off for a HIA. He is being taken off the field on a stretcher, hopefully he will be okay.

Kolisi and Mostert are both off for South Africa, the bomb squad are on. Alun Wyn Jones on for Wales.

05:28 PM

49 min - South Africa 10-18 Wales

Reffell puts in a great tackle as South Africa looked to break.

Biggar is back from his sin bin and his first work sees him give away a penalty. The hosts have come out firing in this second half.

De Klerk kicks to the corner once again.

05:26 PM

TRY MBONAMBI! South Africa 10-18 Wales

That time the maul rolls over and the Boks have their first try of the match. Mbonambi found himself at the back of the maul to dot down.

Willemse, who has replaced Jantjies, strikes the conversion to put them into double figures.

The bomb squad are also set to enter the fray shortly.

05:24 PM

45 min - South Africa 3-18 Wales

South Africa win a penalty as Elias holds on at the breakdown. De Klerk kicks to the corner, considering the point deficit and a man advantage they feel they can get more than three points.

Wales thought they had pushed the Boks maul out of play but the hosts again win a penalty. Again De Klerk goes to the corner.

05:21 PM

42 min - South Africa 3-18 Wales

A bright start for South Africa as Wales go offside with Jantjies kicking away. The star again misses touch but the hosts quickly regain possession.

Willie le Roux is now on for the Boks as the kicking game comes into play.

There's a break in play as there's a technical issue with the ref not being able to hear his other officials.

05:18 PM

BACK UNDERWAY! South Africa 3-18 Wales

The match has restarted and the hosts will hope to take advantage of their man advantage to get back into this match.

Can Wales take this or will South Africa come back with a vengence?

05:15 PM

Biggar's pinpoint drop goal

Before heading to the sin bin Biggar had been having a brilliant game.

He poked Wales beyond a converted try in the opening 10 minutes with this impressive drop goal, take a look:

05:12 PM

First half in photos

What a game this has been so far! Here is what it has looked like...

south africa v wales live score 2022 tour first test result
south africa v wales live score 2022 tour first test result
south africa v wales live score 2022 tour first test result
south africa v wales live score 2022 tour first test result
south africa v wales live score 2022 tour first test result
south africa v wales live score 2022 tour first test result

05:03 PM

HALF-TIME! South Africa 3-18 Wales

Well, that is not what we were expecting!

South Africa have not got a foot into this one yet with Jantjies missing kicks and errors seeping into their game.

Conversely, Wales have had perfect defence and ruthless attack. Hardy has been great at scrum-half and Rees-Zammit is back to his lightning best.

The Boks have a lot to do in the second 40 but Wales will start the second half without captain Biggar after his yellow.

05:01 PM

39 min - South Africa 3-18 Wales

In what should have been a chance to score a try, Wales turn the ball over as De Klerk is unable to get the ball away from the breakdown.

Wales are shutting the hosts out at the moment, they just can't get a foothold.

05:00 PM

YELLOW CARD BIGGAR! South Africa 3-18 Wales

Biggar makes a crucial try saving tackle on De Klerk with the scrum-half just metres from scoring. Slick passes put the hosts in a promising position.

Kolbe knocked the ball forward but the ref was playing an advantage in South Africa's favour. That was more of what we expect from the Boks, lethal and fast paced. All they are missing so far is a dot down over the line.

Biggar slowed the ball down at the breakdown so he sees yellow, he can't believe it but it seems the right call.

04:55 PM

35 min - South Africa 3-18 Wales

South Africa's game is so scrappy whereas Wales have been clinical when they had opportunities with their defence an iron wall.

Another error from the hosts with a forward pass which led to a Welsh scrum.

If Wales saw this scoreline before half-time they would have bitten your hand off. They are proving many wrong in this game.

04:52 PM

TRY REES-ZAMMIT! South Africa 3-18 Wales

Wow! Just wow!

South Africa looked to hit another attack but Reffell wins a penalty at the breakdown for Biggar to clear their lines.

The Welsh line-out went long but the hosts spilled the ball. Rees-Zammit kicked it through and the speed is in action again for the Gloucester man to go over.

Biggar bags the conversion. What a different storyline this is.

04:49 PM

30 min - South Africa 3-11 Wales

The Welsh defence once again forced South Africa to kick the ball, Kolbe almost got to in in the try area. Adams got a finger tip to it and Williams then deals with the threat.

South Africa look dangerous but it's the work in the 22 that needs to be more clinical.

There's another water break here.

04:46 PM

28 min - South Africa 3-11 Wales

Mapimpi and De Klerk edged South Africa's attack forward with Jantjies close to the line.

There's another fight as Wales concede a penalty with both teams piling in. There's a boxing bell ringing in the stadium every time the shoving begins.

The referee had a talk with the two captains with a warning to the players.

South Africa have the penalty from an advantage and they kick to the corner.

04:42 PM

26 min - South Africa 3-11 Wales

South Africa had a prolonged time in attack but Wales have once again forced the hosts to kick the ball away. The question will be if the visitors can keep this physical defence up throughout the match.

Lewis goes offside to gift possession back to the hosts who kick to the corner. The kick from Jantjies goes dead though, the fly-half having a rough start to this, and so there's a Wales scrum.

South Africa win it back as Hardy delays his put in, Kolisi pushed the scrum-half afterwards with Biggar having a few choice words for his opposition skipper. They advance the scrum ten metres as Hardy did not give the ball to the hosts, a bit tasty out there!

04:36 PM

21 min - South Africa 3-11 Wales

This has been a physical encounter so far and Wales have done well to keep Kolbe and Mapimpi off the ball.

Wales concede a penalty through Rowlands who goes off his feet and Jantjies lines up to kick another penalty.

The fly-half missed from a very close shot, that's the second he has missed.

04:34 PM

PENALTY BIGGAR! South Africa 3-11 Wales

Biggar tried a kick over the South African defence but it's charged down so they pull it back for the Welsh advantage.

It is quite a way out but the Northampton Saints fly-half has punt and slots it home.

04:32 PM

PENALTY E JANTJIES! South Africa 3-8 Wales

South Africa have found their gear as they win successive penalties in their attack.

They were playing an advantage as De Klerk kicked away for possession, it rolled out of play and so they've pulled it back.

Jantjies will have another punt at the sticks and he slotted their first points of the match.

04:29 PM

15 min - South Africa 0-8 Wales

E Jantjies smacked the post with his attempt of that penalty!

There is a water break now, considering the altitude in Pretoria I can see why they need one.

Cracking game so far with just under 52,000 fans watching on in the stadium.

04:26 PM

13 min - South Africa 0-8 Wales

Malherbe was tackled and it looked as though Falatau and Lydiate tackled him with no arms.

The crowd didn't like it and the officials are checked it. No-one was sent off and it ended in a scrum for South Africa, it was a strong scrum for the hosts who came away with the penalty.

The Boks opt for the sticks, can they get their first points of the match?

04:23 PM

11 min - South Africa 0-8 Wales

This is a dream opening ten minutes for the visitors but the Springboks are building into this.

Hardy has been charged down by Etzebeth from a box kick but, luckily for Wales, the ball rolls out of play.

Wales do clear their lines but this looks as though we have a fiesty match on our hands.

04:21 PM

DROP GOAL BIGGAR! South Africa 0-8 Wales

Wow, that has just pipped over the bar to give Wales another three points.

The fly-half is now receiving treatment for a cut on the head, he is remaining on the pitch.

04:20 PM

8 min - South Africa 0-5 Wales

Wales won the ball in the scrum and a no arms tackle from Wiese saw Wales win another penalty.

Etzebeth managed to disrupt the ball in the line-out but Rees-Zammit has won back the ball from a high ball catch.

It's breathless!

Biggar had a punt of a drop goal, they are checking if that has gone over!

04:17 PM

5 min - South Africa 0-5 Wales

It has been a breath-taking start for Wales, especially for Rees-Zammit and Kieran Hardy.

The scrum-half has put in great kicks to put the Boks under pressure. It's been scrappy from the hosts with another spillage from South Africa leading to the first scrum.

04:14 PM

TRY REES-ZAMMIT!  South Africa 0-5 Wales

Well, this isn't what we expected!

Lood de Jager dropped the ball off a line-out and Wales stretched the ball wide. The winger steamed for the line, what a start!

That's the 50th try Wales have scored in South Africa but Dan Biggar can't add the extras.

04:11 PM

KICK-OFF! South Africa 0-0 Wales

We are underway in Pretoria!

Who will come away with the win, favourites South Africa or underdogs Wales? We will soon find out.

04:06 PM

Here come the anthems

It's clear fans are excited to be back, it is the first time Springbok fans have watched their team at home since the 2019 World Cup, with a thunderous edition of the South African anthem.

Wales have their own supporters in house with their anthem quietly impressive but it is clear who has the advantage here.

There was a moment of silence for Phil Bennett who died in June.

Moments from getting underway now.

03:56 PM

Countdown to kick-off

We are close to kick-off now and the players have been out on the pitch putting their warm-up in.

Will favourites South Africa sew up the win or can Wales pull off a shock result?

03:51 PM

Biggar hails Kolisi

Wales captain Dan Biggar has spoken to Sky ahead of the Test against South Africa and praised opposite skipper Siya Kolisi.

On what kind of captain he is:

Intense but off the field very relaxed. I thought when I was younger everything had to be rugby... As I've got older I've realised there needs to be more of a balance.

On Kolisi:

I might ask him to sign my shirt! He is so inspirational and a true icon.

If Wales win it will be the first time the team have won on South African soil. On what it would mean to Biggar he added:

[It would] stick two fingers up to those who have written us off

03:45 PM

Nienaber on crowd return

It's going to be a tough outing for us.

It's nice to have crowds back, it's been almost three years since we performed in front of our home crowd. The boys will like that.

03:41 PM

Wales to wear black armbands

Wales players will be wearing black armbands to honour legend Phil Bennett, who passed away on 12 June.

This will be Wales' first game since Bennett died.

03:31 PM

Fans return in South Africa

The Springboks are celebrating having fans back to support the team at home. The pandemic has prevented them from attending matches in South Africa of late.

Here are a few shots of the supporters waiting for the match to kick-off and the players arriving at the stadium.

03:22 PM

Jacques Nienaber speaks

South Africa's head coach Jacques Nienaber has described Wales as "desperate" ahead of their Test this afternoon.

“Wales have had a lot of preparation time before this series – they will be well-coached, well-prepared and desperate, and that makes them extremely dangerous.

“That is why they are going to be so dangerous.

“They will be a desperate Wales side, and I am saying that not because I am guessing what is going on in their camp right now, but because in 2018, we were in the same position.”

Wayne Pivac has said he has not had a good night's sleep since their loss to Italy so maybe the Springboks boss is right...

03:11 PM

South Africa v Wales line-ups

The hosts South Africa have named a strong starting XV with World Cup final hero Cheslin Kolbe on the wing. Ten of the World Cup squad start against Wales in Pretoria.

Jacques Nienaber has named:  Willemse; Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi; E Jantjies, De Klerk; Nche, Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Etzebeth, De Jager, Kolisi (captain), Mostert, Wiese.

Replacements: Marx, Kitshoff, Koch, Moerat, Louw,  Smith, H Jantjies, Le Roux.

Wales, meanwhile, will see a Test debutant with Tommy Reffell starting at blindside flanker.

George North and Dan Lydiate return from injury and stalwart player Alun Wyn Jones starts from the bench.

Wayne Pivac named: Williams; Rees-Zammit, North, Tompkins, Adams; Biggar (captain), Hardy; Thomas, Elias, Lewis, Rowlands, Beard, Lydiate, Reffell, Faletau.

Replacements: Lake, Carre, Francis, AW Jones, Navidi,  Williams, Anscombe, Watkin.

02:51 PM

Pivac wants to banish Italy nightmares

Wales have travelled to South Africa to take on the world champions in the first game since their shock defeat to Italy in the 2022 Six Nations. It was the end of a disappointing Six Nations campaign for Wayne Pivac's side which saw them finish fifth.

The head coach has said he hasn't slept well since the tournament and aims to get some REM sleep with a victory over South Africa. "Well, I'll probably get my first decent night's sleep since the end of the Six Nations, and that's a fact," said Pivac.

"It just doesn't go away. The thing with coaches and players is you're not happy until you get your next win under your belt. It's been a long time between drinks and of course there is that memory [of Italy defeat].

"If you finish on winning the Six Nations it's a nice memory, but losing to Italy has been challenging in terms of the pressure you put on yourself, as opposed to the pressure others put on you."

Pivac's team now embark on a three-Test series against a formidable Springboks team. South Africa had an impressive 2021, beating New Zealand, Argentina and only narrowly losing to England last autumn. It will be a big feat for Wales to come away with a series win and the first Test will be the telling game to see where both teams are at in terms of form.

Wales have some consistency from the Six Nations with Dan Biggar once again bestowed the captaincy armband. Usual skipper Alun Wyn Jones remains in the squad but he will start from the bench in today's Test.

Siya Kolisi remains the captain for South Africa with the likes of Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe starring for the hosts at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium.