Talking points as desperate Wales meet Springboks at Twickenham live on Sky Sports

Sky Sports
21/06/24 11:19am

Wales face South Africa in neutral venue Twickenham on Saturday, live on Stan, as Warren Gatland desperately seeks improvements...

Ahead of travelling to face Australia in a two-Test tour, also live on Sky Sports, Wales enter into the home of English rugby to begin their summer of action, emerging from a first Six Nations Wooden Spoon since 2003.

South Africa - playing their first game since October's victorious World Cup final vs New Zealand - are warming up ahead of welcoming Six Nations champions Ireland for their own two-Test tour, live on Sky Sports.

Wales are rank outsiders, being billed as a 13-1 chance by some bookmakers, and it is not difficult to see why.

They will arrive at Twickenham without numerous front-line players, contributing to an eye-watering gulf in experience between the teams. South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth, for instance, has almost won more caps than the entire Wales starting pack.

South Africa won five of their last six games against Wales, while Gatland's team have posted a solitary victory - against the Barbarians - since October 2023.

Injuries again beset Wales
When Gatland says Wales have backs against the wall this weekend, he is not wrong, with the list of unavailable players running comfortably into double figures.

As the game falls outside World Rugby's summer Test window, a sizeable England-based contingent - featuring Nick Tompkins, Dafydd Jenkins and Tommy Reffell - cannot play, with injury absentees and rest periods seeing Jac Morgan, Taulupe Faletau, Tomos Williams, Adam Beard, Josh Adams, Ryan Elias and Will Rowlands all out.

For Welsh fans, it is the harsh reality.

Wales in desperate need of victory
Winning became a habit for Wales during Gatland's first spell as head coach from 2008 to 2019, with Six Nations titles, Grand Slams and World Cup semi-final appearances all being achieved.

It is a different story the second time around, though, with Wales having lost 12 Tests from 18, including six on the bounce.

They now face South Africa, Australia (twice) before an autumn series that features appointments with Fiji, the Wallabies and Springboks, before a Six Nations opener against France in Paris.

A victory would work wonders for confidence, but where and when is not exactly clear.

New rugby laws go on public show
Three new laws will be in operation at Twickenham. Described as "fan-focused" by World Rugby, they are designed to help improve the flow and spectacle of games.

A player now cannot be put onside when an opposition player catches the ball and runs five metres, or passes the ball, from a kick in open play - the 'Dupont Law' as it came to be known, is no more.

Offside players must make an attempt to retreat, therefore creating space for the opposition team to play and potentially reducing so-called 'kick tennis.'

It will also no longer be possible to choose a scrum from a free-kick, while the action of rolling/twisting/pulling a player on their feet in the tackle area and breakdown - the 'crocodile roll' - has been banned.

Watch South Africa vs Wales at Twickenham live on Stan 8:50pm WST

England's summer fixtures (UK and Irish time)
Saturday June 22 - vs Japan (6.50am)
Saturday July 6 - vs New Zealand (8.05am), live on Sky Sports
Saturday July 13 - vs New Zealand (8.05am), live on Sky Sports

Ireland's summer fixtures (UK and Irish time)
Saturday July 6 - South Africa vs Ireland (4pm), live on Sky Sports
Saturday July 13 - South Africa vs Ireland (4pm), live on Sky Sports

Wales' summer fixtures (UK and Irish time)
Saturday June 22 - vs South Africa (2pm), live on Sky Sports
Saturday July 6 - vs Australia (10.45am), live on Sky Sports
Saturday July 13 - vs Australia (10.45am), live on Sky Sports