(Reuters) – Ellis Jenkins will captain Wales for the first time when they face South Africa in Washington D.C. on Saturday.
The former Wales Under-20 skipper will feature alongside Seb Davies and Ross Moriarty in the back row as Warren Gatland’s Wales kick off their summer tour against the Springboks in a one-off test.
Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee and Dillon Lewis start in the front-row with Bradley Davies and Cory Hill packing down in the second-row.
Gatland has handed a debut to Cardiff Blues scrumhalf Tomos Williams, having rested almost all the Welsh players who were on British and Irish Lions duty in New Zealand last year.
“Saturday is a huge opportunity for this squad and for players individually,” Gatland said in a statement on Thursday.
“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.”
Aled Davis, Rhys Patchell and Hadleigh Parkes were named on the bench as backline cover.
Wales team – 15-Hallam Amos, 14-Tom Prydie, 13-George North, 12-Owen Watkin, 11-Steff Evans, 10-Gareth Anscombe, 9-Tomos Williams, 8-Ross Moriarty, 7-Ellis Jenkins (captain), 6-Seb Davies, 5-Cory Hill, 4-Bradley Davies, 3-Dillon Lewis, 2-Elliot Dee, 1-Nicky Smith.
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.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)