Embrose Papier set to get the nod for Wales Test
The youngster performed well in a tough environment against Scotland last weekend
Although scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is available for Springbok selection this week‚ coach Rassie Erasmus indicated that the team might play without him when they meet Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
De Klerk missed last week’s 26-20 win over Scotland at Murrayfield after Erasmus released the halfback to his club, Sale Sharks.
It gave the Bok coach the opportunity to start Embrose Papier for the first time this season, and the youngster did well in a tough environment.
De Klerk also missed the 12-11 loss against England – the first match on tour – because it fell outside the Test window.
Against both England and Scotland the scrumhalves were solid‚ which seems to have given Erasmus the confidence to continue developing them.
It is a big call after the coach described the Welsh match as the toughest of the tour.
Given that there are only five Tests left until the start of Rugby World Cup 2019‚ Papier and Van Zyl could do with more game time.
De Klerk is available‚ as per regulation nine of World Rugby’s policies‚ but Erasmus is unlikely to invoke it this week.
“Faf is available this weekend‚ but we probably won’t use him‚” Erasmus told the media in Cardiff.
“Regulation nine is quite clear that we can draft the [overseasbased] guys in a Sunday before a Test match.
“We have a very good relationship with most of the clubs.
“Faf is definitely a contender to go to the Rugby World Cup next year‚ but in the same breath we don’t have the luxury of 15 to 20 Test matches before the World Cup. We have five‚ including this one.
“The way we have been trying to build momentum and get the winning feeling back‚ we had to rely a lot on Faf‚ but we feel the young boys in the squad are ready to take the step up and show what they can do‚ like Embrose did last week and Ivan did against England.”
Meanwhile Wales will be without experienced fullback Leigh Halfpenny for Saturday’s final November international at the Millennium Stadium but have been boosted by the return of wing George North.
Wales assistant coach Rob Howley said that Halfpenny would be rested for the clash against the physical Springboks after complaining of feeling light-headed in training.
He had been suffering from concussion after a tackle from Australia’s Samu Kerevi in Wales’ narrow 9-6 victory a fortnight ago.
“Leigh is out. He did some training on Saturday morning and was feeling a little bit lightheaded. It’s only common sense,” Howley said.
“From a back-three perspective, it gives us an opportunity to look at others.
“Liam Williams has played at fullback, Gareth Anscombe has stepped up there and Hallam Amos has played there.”
Amos has been added to the squad after last playing for the side against Argentina in June. Wales head coach Warren Gatland will likely play Anscombe in the fullback position and select Williams and the returning North on the wing, leaving Dan Biggar to stay in the No 10 jersey.
North returned to training on Tuesday after missing the 74-24 victory over Tonga on Saturday with a bruised leg.
Additional reporting by Reuters