Baa-Baas pick seven Boks, three others from SA to face new-look Wales

Baa-Baas pick seven Boks, three others from SA to face new-look Wales

The new and the outgoing Wales coaches are in charge of Wales and the British Barbarians respectively who play one another at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

New man in charge of Wales Rugby, Wayne Pivac, has made a number of changes to the home side in his first match in charge.

He has had some injury problems to upset his plans, but the reality is that there are nine changes from the Wales side that lost the World Cup bronze play-off against the All Blacks in Japan.  

All eight the forwards, however, were at the World Cup. With legendary lock and captain Alun Wyn Jones now retired, flanker Justin Tipuric takes over the captaincy. Scarlets' New Zealand-born wing Johnny McNicholl will make his Wales debut in the non-capped match after qualifying on residency grounds.

Pivac told BBC Sport that this week’s preparations have been an opportunity for a new squad and management to get together and to set the scene for what the future holds.

"There has been quite a lot of learning for the squad this week, looking at what we are trying to do and us providing some clarity, but we have also stressed the enjoyment factor of being together for the first time and the excitement of not only this weekend but the future."

♦ Wales will face a Baa-baas team with ten South African players, of whom seven are Springboks, in their match-23. One of the ten South Africans is former Lions and Golden Lions captain Josh Strauss, a Scottish international who is now with the Bulls

In the starting backline Bulls Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks has been included after flying out this week to cover for injuries, with fellow Springbok wing Dillyn Leyds, centre André Esterhuizen and Curwin Bosch also in the run-on side

Up front Springbok flank Marco van Staden will start with his Bulls loose forward colleague Strauss and Bulls teammate, prop Wiehahn Herbst.

There are two Springboks on the bench: Schalk Brits, the only World Cup Springbok in the match-23 and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak.

Sunwolves prop Hencus van Wyk, former Bulls player who played club rugby for Naka Bulls this year, is the tenth South African.

Particularly interesting is the fact that the two coaches are both New Zealanders with Pivac the fourth successive Kiwi appointed to coach Wales in 21 years. Before Gatland, Steve Hansen who guided the All Blacks  to the past two World Cups, and Graham Henry were Wales head coaches.

Teams –

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones. Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Ollie Griffiths, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Owen Lane.

(SA players in bold, Springboks marked with asterisk)
15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Dillyn Leyds*, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 André Esterhuizen*, 11 Cornal Hendricks*, 10 Curwin Bosch*, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Marco van Staden*, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Tyler Ardon, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Campese Ma’afu. Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits*, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 George Biagi, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Jano Vermaak*, 22 Billy Meakes, 23 Matt Duffie.

Kick-off: 16:45 (SA time)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)