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Wales explore squad depth against SA

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Wales will hand a debut to New Zealand-born centre Hadleigh Parkes a day after he becomes available to the Test against struggling South Africa at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow.

Coach Warren Gatland is exploring the depth of his squad with the next World Cup in Japan a little under two years away.

Yet after defeats to Australia and New Zealand already this autumn, he will not want to go into 2018 with another loss against what will be an under-strength Springbok side.

Inside centre Parkes, who only becomes eligible through residency to represent Wales today, will partner Scarlets club mate Scott Williams in the midfield, while Gatland has also handed a start to scrumhalf Aled Davies.

The selection of Davies is a surprise, with first-choice Rhys Webb on the bench having come through concussion protocols this week, and the recognised second in line, Gareth Davies, not in the match-day squad altogether.

Gatland has also made three changes to his forward pack with hooker Kristian Dacey and prop Scott Andrews coming into the front row alongside Rob Evans, while lock Cory Hill will partner captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row. The loose-forward trio remains unchanged.

"We have had a couple of knocks from last weekend, with Ken (Owens), Leon (Brown) and Jake (Ball) unavailable, but that just provides an opportunity for Kristian, Scott and Cory to start," Galtland said.

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