Dan Biggar is set to continue his role as Welsh captain despite the return of Alun Wyn Jones, as Wales coach Wayne Pivac named his squad for their three Test tour of South Africa in July.
Biggar deputised for the injured Wyn Jones during the recent Six Nations, but despite the return of world rugby’s most capped international, Pivac has decided to keep Biggar in the role to lessen the workload on Wyn Jones.
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“Dan Biggar is named captain. We’ve obviously got great leadership in the group with Alun Wyn and Dan,” explained Pivac.
“Dan did well in the Six Nations and Al has come back from a pretty big lay off. He’s had a little bit of rugby and we want him to hit his straps as a second row and be the best player he can be and focus on playing. He’ll lead naturally anyway but certainly he’s looking forward to that challenge.”
Wales are also happy to welcome back experienced stars George North and Dan Lydiate from extended periods out with injury, but still have at least eight senior players unavailable for the tour.
Cardiff’s James Ratti and Leicester Tigers Tommy Reffell are the two uncapped players in the squad.
“We’ve had some players come back from injury like George North so that’s exciting for the squad. Some players have been ruled out through injury, so there’s naturally going to be change there,” said Pivac.
“Then we’ve looked at players’ form, who we are playing, where we’re playing, we have two games at altitude, and what our gameplan will be when considering selection.”
In all it is set to be a tough three match tour for Wales against the Springboks, especially after a dismal Six Nations campaign earlier this year where they finished second from bottom of the log and lost to Italy.
“This three-Test Series is going to be a challenge. It always has been, history shows that and certainly that’s what we’re looking to achieve – to get a victory there if not two and win a series,” admitted Pivac.
“The first two Tests at altitude that’s going to be a challenge, so first and foremost we’ve got to do a lot of preparation here in Wales before we go and make sure we are in the best shape possible to perform well.”
Forwards – Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones, Gareth Thomas, Ryan Elias, Dewi Lake, Sam Parry, Leon Brown, Tomas Francis, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Ben Carter, Alun Wyn Jones, Will Rowlands, Taine Basham, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Josh Navidi, James Ratti, Tommy Reffell
Backs – Gareth Davies, Kieran Hardy, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell, George North, Nick Tompkins, Owen Watkin, Johnny Williams, Josh Adams, Alex Cuthbert, Louis Rees-Zammit, Liam Williams