Depleted Wales set for Lydiate boost

Reporter:

Gavin Grosvenor

DAN Lydiate looks set to make the squad for Wales’ final test match of the Autumn International Series against South Africa on Saturday.

The 29 year old missed out on the squad which crashed to a 33-18 defeat against New Zealand last week with the result extending Wales’ miserable record of defeats against the All Blacks which now extends more than ha;f a century.

The Abbey-cwm-hir raised blindside flanker captained Wales to their only victory of a poor Autumn series, an unconvincing 13-6 victory over Georgia which followed a 29-21 defeat to Australia.

Now only victory against the Springboks can save Wales from consigning the 2017 series a disaster ahead of next year’s RBS Six Nations.

Wales will look to emulate last season’s 27-13 victory against the South Africans but their record against the Springboks means the hosts go into the game as massive underdogs.

Wales have won just three matches against South Africa in 32 meetings dating back to 1906 and once again coach Warren Gatland must pick up the pieces following last week’s defeat against the world champions.

As well as injuries ruling out Justin Tipuric, Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams, George North, Sam Warburton and Ross Moriarty, Samson Lee, Jake Ball and Rhys Webb the Welsh squad has been shorn of Jamie Roberts,Tom Francis and Owen Williams who have returned to their clubs in England.

Machynlleth raised prop Rhodri Jones has joined the Welsh training camp ahead of the game, joining Ospreys team-mate with Lydiate.

Coach Warren Gatland said: “We have spoken about developing players and exposing players to this level for the next two years as we build for the World Cup, and we feel that we are doing that.

“We need to learn from the first three weeks we have been together and continue to improve and hopefully we can come away with a good result on Saturday.”

Email:

gavin.grosvenor@nwn.co.uk

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