Dan Biggar retains Wales captaincy for SA tour, despite presence of Alun Wyn Jones

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Dan Biggar. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Dan Biggar. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
  • Wales coach Wayne Pivac has named a 33-man squad for their upcoming three-Test series against the Springboks.
  • Flyhalf Dan Biggar retains the captaincy despite the presence of veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones.
  • The three Tests will be played in Pretoria (2 July), Bloemfontein (9 July) and Cape Town (16 July).

Wales coach Wayne Pivac has named a 33-man squad for a three-Test series against the Springboks in July.

Flyhalf Dan Biggar retains the captaincy despite veteran Alun Wyn Jones also making the squad. Biggar captained Wales in the Six Nations during Jones' absence.

"Dan Bigger is named captain. We've obviously got great leadership in the group with Alun Wyn and Dan. Dan did well in the Six Nations and Al has come back from a pretty big lay-off," Pivac said in a statement.

"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 squad:

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 (captain), Rhys Patchell, George North, Nick Tompkins, Owen Watkin, Johnny Williams, Josh Adams, Alex Cuthbert, Louis Rees-Zammit, Liam Williams

Elsewhere, George North and Dan Lydiate return for international duty after extended periods out with injury. Their Ospreys team-mate, Sam Parry, will join them in the Wales camp, while Scarlets duo Johnny Williams and Rhys Patchell are also named.

There are two uncapped players in the Wales squad, namely Cardiff Rugby's James Ratti and Leicester Tigers' Tommy Reffell.

Pivac added: "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. Then we've looked at players' form, who we are playing, where we're playing - we have two games at altitude - and what our game plan will be when considering selection.

"I spoke to Tommy Reffell before we announced the squad for the Six Nations. We looked hard at Tommy and decided to leave him out then. He's played very well since, he’s been very consistent - one of the most consistent players in the English Premiership so we feel that he deserves an opportunity and he will be well tested on this tour."

The first Test is scheduled for Saturday, 2 July at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, before Tests in Bloemfontein (9 July) and Cape Town (16 July)

"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. The first two Tests at altitude are 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," Pivac added.

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