Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has named a 33-man squad for the three-Test series against the Springboks in South Africa in July.
George North and Dan Lydiate return for international duty after extended periods out with injury. Ospreys teammate Sam Parry will join them in the Wales camp.
Scarlets duo Johnny Williams and Rhys Patchell are also named.
There are two uncapped players: Cardiff Rugby’s James Ratti is called up after featuring in the 2022 Six Nations squad while Leicester Tigers’ Tommy Reffell is selected in a Wales squad for the first time.
As expected, Dan Biggar will continue to captain the squad for the Test series following his appointment in the Six Nations.
“Dan Bigger is named captain. We’ve obviously got great leadership in the group with Alun Wyn and Dan,” said Pivac. “Dan did well in the Six Nations and Al has come back from a pretty big lay-off. He’s had a little bit of rugby and we want him to hit his straps as a second row and be the best player he can be and focus on playing. He’ll lead naturally, anyway, but certainly he’s looking forward to that challenge.
“We’ve had some players come back from injury like George North, so that’s exciting for the squad. Some players have been ruled out through injury, so there’s naturally going to be change there. Then we’ve looked at players’ form, who we are playing, where we’re playing – we have two games at altitude – and what our gameplan will be when considering selection.
“This three-Test series is going to be a challenge. It always has been, history shows that and certainly that’s what we’re looking to achieve – to get a victory there if not two and win a series. The first two Tests at altitude are going to be a challenge, so first and foremost we’ve got to do a lot of preparation here in Wales before we go and make sure we are in the best shape possible to perform well.”
The first Test against the Springboks is at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday 2 July, before it moves to Bloemfontein and then finishes in Cape Town on 16 July.
Wales and South Africa have faced each other 37 times to date, with the first encounter taking place in Swansea in 1906. The two sides’ last fixture was during the 2021 Autumn Nations Series where Wales were narrowly defeated 23-18 at Principality Stadium.
Wales squad for Test series against South Africa:
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby – 16 caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 43 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 10 caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 27 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 5 caps)
Sam Parry (Ospreys – 5 caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons – 22 caps)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 64 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 38 caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 34 caps)
Ben Carter (Dragons – 6 caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 150 caps)
Will Rowlands (Dragons – 18 caps)
Taine Basham (Dragons – 10 caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby – 89 caps)
Dan Lydiate (Ospreys – 65 caps)
Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby – 30 caps)
James Ratti (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – uncapped)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 67 caps)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 11 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 33 caps)
Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 31 caps)
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints – 100 caps) (captain)
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets – 21 caps)
George North (Ospreys – 102 caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 20 caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 31 caps)
Johnny Williams (Scarlets – 5 caps
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 39 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 51 caps)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 16 caps)
Liam Williams (Scarlets – 78 caps)
Players unavailable for selection due to injury:
Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Christ Tshiunza, Aaron Wainwright, Uilisi Halaholo, Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl.
Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images