South Africa v Wales: Uncapped flanker Tommy Reffell in selection shake-up

South Africa v Wales: Uncapped flanker Tommy Reffell in selection shake-up

Tommy Reffell is a former Wales Under-20s captain
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Date: Saturday, 2 July Kick-off: 16:05 BST
Coverage: Radio Wales commentary will be available on Radio Wales Extra, BBC Sport Online and 882 medium wave, Radio Cymru, plus live text and match report on the BBC Sport website

Wales are considering giving uncapped Leicester flanker Tommy Reffell his debut against South Africa in Saturday’s opening Test in Pretoria.

Reffell, 23, was named in his first Wales squad for the summer tour.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac is also weighing up starting returns for Ospreys duo Dan Lydiate and George North after long injury lay-offs.

Pivac names his side on Thursday for the first of the three Tests.

Reffell linked up with the Wales squad fresh from helping Leicester win the English Premiership final against Saracens.

His Leicester team-mate Jasper Wiese will start at number eight for the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld.

Reffell is in line for the starting Wales back row alongside Taulupe Faletau and Lydiate, with Josh Navidi also being considered.

Lydiate, 34, last played for Wales in the 2021 Six Nations opening match against Ireland in February 2021 when he picked up a serious knee injury that sidelined him for a year.

North also suffered a long-term knee problem in April 2021 that forced him out of the game for 12 months and meant him missing the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa last summer.

The 30-year-old returned at the end of the season for Ospreys and proved his fitness for the summer tour.

Pivac hopes to recall North at centre, where he starred in Wales’ 2021 Six Nations triumph.

Dragons lock Will Rowlands could regain his starting spot after 2021 Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones started in Wales’ final day defeat by Italy in the Six Nations in March.

Scarlets scrum-half Kieran Hardy is in contention to start ahead of Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams.

Prop Tomas Francis has been battling a back injury with Dillon Lewis on standby to start if he fails to recover, with uncapped tight-heads Harri O’Connor and Sam Wainwright having been called into the squad shortly before the tour party’s departure.

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