South Africa vs Wales LIVE rugby: Latest build-up and updates from first Test in Pretoria

Wales face South Africa in Pretoria

Wales face South Africa in the first Test of their summer tour today.

Flanker Tommy Reffell, who helped Leicester Tigers win this season’s Gallagher Premiership title, will make his debut in the back-row alongside Dan Lydiate and Taulupe Faletau. Lydiate and centre George North return to international rugby after more than a year away from the Test match arena because of serious knee injuries.

Head coach Wayne Pivac has opted for Will Rowlands and Adam Beard as the second-row partnership, meaning 150 times-capped Alun Wyn Jones is on the bench. Jones is joined among the replacements by fellow British and Irish Lions player Josh Navidi, with Tomos Williams providing scrum-half cover for Kieran Hardy.

Hardy is elevated to the starting XV as captain Dan Biggar’s half-back partner, with North joined in midfield by Saracens’ Nick Tompkins. For the hosts, Elton Jantjies lines up at 10 and Damian Willemse at 15 in the place of Handre Pollard and Willie le Roux respectively. Follow all the action below with our live blog:

South Africa vs Wales

Welsh entertainer Max Boyce wrote a song in the 1970s called The Outside-Half Factory, which reflected Wales’ production line ability to produce world-class number 10s.

In more recent times, that prolific output has veered towards openside flankers and personified through players like Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric.

Now it is the turn of Leicester’s Tommy Reffell, who makes his Test debut just a fortnight after helping the Tigers win their first Gallagher Premiership title for nine years.

The 23-year-old delivered a number of immense performances during Leicester’s dominant domestic season, and an international baptism of fire now awaits, but do not be surprised if he thrives.

South Africa vs Wales

It has been a long time coming, but South Africa will play in front of a sold-out home crowd for the first time since they were crowned world champions 32 months ago.

The coronavirus pandemic meant last year’s Test series against the British and Irish Lions took place behind closed doors, and demand for Saturday’s clash saw remaining tickets snapped up more than 96 hours before kick-off.

The Springboks’ overall record in Pretoria is better than at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, where they won the 1995 World Cup under Francois Pienaar’s captaincy, which underlines Wales’ acute degree of difficulty.

South Africa vs Wales

Three games against the Springboks in South Africa, with two of those at altitude, provide a fierce examination for Wales.

They suffered a chastening 22-21 Six Nations home defeat against Italy last time out and have never toppled South Africa on home soil, losing all 10 previous encounters.

Three of those defeats were in Pretoria – by scorelines of 37-21, 53-18 and 96-13 – which underlines how big a task awaits them.

Even though it was eight years ago, Wales can take heart from a one-point loss against the Springboks in Nelspruit on their last visit, with six survivors from that encounter featuring in Pivac’s match-day 23, but South Africa are clear favourites.

South Africa vs Wales

After two thrilling matches this morning, here’s serving number three of top drawer rugby union from southern hemisphere where Wales face their toughest task of Wayne Pivac’s coaching reign with the first of a three-Test series against world champions South Africa.

Pivac’s team play in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, starting on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld, where they will be greeted by a 50,000 capacity crowd.

We will have all of it for you right here.

England beaten by 14-man Australia in first Test

England collapsed to a fourth successive defeat as their magic touch against Australia finally deserted them in a 30-28 loss in the series opener at Optus Stadium.

The Wallabies had second row Darcy Swain sent off for a headbutt in the 34th minute but Eddie Jones’ tourists were still unable to secure a ninth successive victory in the fixture.

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It is the second match in a row that they have been unable to finish off 14-man opposition after being routed by the Barbarians at Twickenham in their most recent outing.

England beaten by 14-man Australia in first Test

Australia 30-28 England: The Wallabies had second row Darcy Swain sent off for a headbutt in the 34th minute

Eddie Jones is last in front of the Sky Sports microphone

“We had enough moments in the game to win it. At 14-9 with 20 minutes to go we should have put the game away but we didn’t. Now we’ve got to win the series 2-1 and make sure we don’t let them off the hook next time.

“In some ways a red card can work against you. The referee then starts to referee it differently, and we probably didn’t adjust well enough today.

“The message at halftime was to put more pressure on them and we did that in spurts, but a couple of times we were on their line and didn’t finish it off We’ve got to tidy up our ability to finish in attack. Defensively we could have gone after them a bit more.

“[Henry Arundell] is going to be a good player. If he can keep learning and work hard, he’s going to be a special talent for us. There are somepositives to come out of a loss that we are very disappointed in.”

Dave Rennie on his side’s victory

“I’m really proud. We lost Quade before the game, we lost Allan and Banksy before half-time, and then the red card. We lost collisions on both sides of the ball so I’m really rapt with the characted and the decision-making in the second half.

“I thought our leaders did a fantastic job problem solving on the run. We know England have got a lot more in them so we will be ready for that next week. We gave away too many penalties, so there is plenty to tidy up for us.”

A big win for Australia

Australia probably needed a win like that. There were times in that first half where it looked like a day where everything might go wrong, Quade Cooper injured before kick-off, two more starters also forced off early, and then that Darcy Swain sending off. But it speaks volumes about the character that Dave Rennie has instilled in the side that they managed to stay in, and then decisively win the game. Their big players stood up – Michael Hooper, Nic White, Samu Kerevi – and Noah Lolesio grew increasingly into the game after his late call-up to start. The manner in which they attacked an England side on the ropes to extend their advantage showed a real ruthless edge, too – and that Pete Samu score ended up necessary.

Henry Arundell makes an impact

This was rather good on debut from Henry Arundell.

F/T: Australia 30-28 England

It’s another tough day for England. Eddie Jones’ team are continuing to struggle to put teams away even when dominant for good periods. There was plenty to like about the manner in which their carriers attacked and so often won the gainline, but there was little of true incision that followed it and take the opportunities that should have come.

Those two late scores for Henry Arundell and Jack van Poortvliet rather paper over quite significant cracks. Their attack still looks very disjointed, and they lacked control and direction in the second half.

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