Wales kingpin ruled out of match against Boks

rugby18 June 2024 12:20
By:Gavin Rich
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Jac Morgan @ Getty Images

Already without players currently playing for clubs in England and elsewhere because the game falls outside of the international window, Wales were dealt a further blow in the buildup to Saturday’s clash with the Springboks when they lost ace flanker Jac Morgan to injury.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has been forced to name an inexperienced team for the match at Twickenham against the world champions, with one debutant in the starting team and three more on the bench.

The biggest news though was Morgan’s withdrawal from the team and also his unavailability for the tour of Australia that the London game is effectively being used as preparation for. Wales are due to play the Wallabies on 6 July and 13 July, the same day that the Boks will be hosting their matches against Ireland in Pretoria and Durban respectively.

Welsh supporters were looking forward to seeing Morgan back in action after he missed the Six Nations earlier this year because of a knee injury. His latest problem is a hamstring injury that was sustained playing for the Ospreys in their United Rugby Championship quarterfinal defeat to Munster 10 days ago.

Morgan, who was Wales’ World Cup co-captain with Dewi Lake last year, missed the Six Nations earlier this year because of a knee injury, and sustained a hamstring problem in the Ospreys’ United Rugby Championship quarterfinal defeat. Hooker Lake will lead Wales against the South Africans, who also have several youthful players in their team but boast an experienced pack.

The 22-year-old’s absence will be more keenly felt in this game as Tommy Reffell, the Leicester Tigers loose-forward, is also unavailable due to being based outside Wales and the game falling outside of the international window. Reffell was one of the few Wales players to emerge from what was a disastrous Six Nations campaign, where they didn’t win a game, with his reputation enhanced.

Cardiff scrumhalf Ellis Bevan is the debutant in the starting team while there are three rookies on the bench in the form of Eddie James, Jacob Beetham and Jacob Ratti. The last mentioned was only called up in an emergency on the day of the team announcement because of a second row crisis.

Interesting inclusions in the Wales team are James Botham, grandson of the legendary former England cricket allrounder, Ian, and Taine Plumtree, son of the Hollywoodbets Sharks coach John Plumtree.

Wales team: Cameron Winnett, Liam Williams, Owen Watkin, Mason Grady, Rio Dyer, Sam Costelow, Ellis Bevan, Aaron Wainwright, James Botham, Taine Plumtree, Ben Carter, Matthew Screech, Henry Thomas, Dewi Lake (captain), Gareth Thomas. Replacements: Evan Lloyd, Kemsley Mathias, Kieron Assiratti, James Ratti, Mackenzie Martin, Gareth Davies, Jacob Beetham.