Toby Faletau in action against England. Picture: REUTERS
Toby Faletau in action against England. Picture: REUTERS

Cardiff — Influential No 8 Toby Faletau and prop Scott Andrews are available for Wales but the hosts will be without much of their star power for Saturday’s Test against the Springboks.

Faletau and Andrews are the only English-based players cleared to play. Rhys Priestland‚ Jamie Roberts‚ Owen Williams and Tomas Francis all had to cross the Severn Bridge back to their paymasters.

Saturday’s Test falls outside the November Test window and clubs are generally reluctant to release their players.

The Springboks last week had to say goodbye to Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw who were off to their clubs Toulon and Bath.

Faletau also plays for Bath but he got permission to play‚ while Louw did not.

Francis is with league leaders Exeter Chiefs‚ Williams is with Johan Ackermann’s Gloucester‚ while Roberts runs straight and hard for Harlequins. Apart from their unavailability Wales have other selection issues.

Lock Jake Ball suffered a dislocated shoulder against the All Blacks and has been released from the Wales squad‚ as has backrower Justin Tipuric who sustained a quad injury in the same game.

Scrumhalf Rhys Webb’s availability is also in doubt as he has to complete concussion protocols. The same goes for Scott Williams who injured an ankle against the All Blacks. Should Webb be ruled out it will be a huge blow to Wales.

All this follows on top of the list of long-term absentees Sam Warburton‚ Jonathan Davies‚ Liam Williams‚ George North‚ Samson Lee and Ross Moriarty.

Coach Warren Gatland’s resources are stretched this week and he has to be creative to field a competitive squad.

He is likely to include former Southern Kings utility back Hadleigh Parkes‚ who completes his three-year waiting period for national qualification on Saturday, in midfield.

"We’re a little bit down but it’s a chance for other guys," assistant coach Neil Jenkins told a media conference.

"We’ve got plenty of players, not as many as we had at the start, but we’ve had a few injuries and hopefully other players can show what they’re all about."

Like Bok coach Allister Coetzee‚ Gatland is also in desperate need of a win on Saturday.

Wales have won just five of their 10 Tests this year.

Four of those wins were against opposition they were expected to beat at home — Georgia‚ Tonga‚ Samoa and Italy. They do, however, boast a win over Ireland.

They will fancy their chances against a Springbok team that have lost two of their last three Tests against the Dragons.

Apart from that they only boast one other win over the Springboks. That happened in a rare midyear Test in Wales at the opening of the Millennium Stadium in 1999.


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