(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
Ellis Jenkins will captain Wales for the first time on Saturday when they take on South Africa in Washington DC.
After leading Cardiff Blues to the Challenge Cup trophy, Jenkins lines up alongside Seb Davies and Ross Moriarty in the back row selected by coach Warren Gatland.
And while new South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus has selected seven uncapped players in his starting XV, Gatland has opted for only one in Jenkins club team-mate Tomos Williams.
The 22-year-old scrum-half will partner Gareth Anscombe who continues at fly-half for the Test to be played at the 45,596-capacity RFK Stadium in the USA capital.
While there is also a mixture of youth and experience in the midfield as Owen Watkin wins his 5th cap playing alongside George North.
On his selection, Gatland placed a heavy emphasis on the players on the teamsheet being in with a chance of reaching next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“Saturday is a huge opportunity for this squad and for players individually,” Gatland commented.
“Everything we are doing is geared for the RWC in 15 months’ time and the next three matches are a hugely important part of our development.
“This weekend is an opportunity for players to build on their test rugby experience and lay a marker down for the jersey and for the position going forward.
“I think there are exciting selections across the team and I’m looking forward to Saturday to see what we are able to do against the Springboks.”
On the bench, Scarlets fly-half Rhys Patchell is currently pencilled in to wear the 22 shirt but will undergo a late fitness test to determine his availability.
Wales team to face South Africa, Washington DC (Saturday, 2 June, 16:00 KO):
Wales: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 George North, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Nicky Smith, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Dillon Lewis, 4 Cory Hill, 5 Bradley Davies, 6 Seb Davies, 7 Ellis Jenkins (Capt), 8 Ross Moriarty
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Rhys Patchell/Gareth Davies, 23 Hadleigh Parkes