DRAGONS lock Will Rowlands earns a start for Wales against South Africa on Saturday after the loss of talisman Alun Wyn Jones – with Rodney Parade teammate Ben Carter called onto the bench.

Wayne Pivac makes six changes to the XV that lost to New Zealand in their autumn opener at Principality Stadium.

Rowlands played most of the game against the All Blacks after captain Jones went off injured and keeps his spot next to Adam Beard for the clash with the physical world champions.

Dragons flanker Ross Moriarty also suffered a series-ending shoulder blow in the opener with Ellis Jenkins coming in to join the Rodney Parade duo of Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright.

The hard-working Cardiff flanker makes his first Wales appearance since suffering a serious knee injury against the Springboks three years ago.

Loosehead prop Rhys Carre comes into the XV along with the England-based trio of fly-half Dan Biggar, centre Nick Tompkins and wing Louis Rees-Zammit, who couldn’t face New Zealand as the game was outside World Rugby’s Test window.

Carter is set for his biggest test after being named among the replacements against a formidable Springboks pack.

The 20-year-old from Undy enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Dragons in 2020/21 and made three international starts against Canada and Argentina (twice) last summer.

He is joined on the bench by uncapped front rowers Bradley Roberts and WillGriff John plus fit-again Lions full-back Liam Williams.

Centre Jonathan Davies captains the team in Jones' absence.

“South Africa coming to town, as world champions, offers a different challenge to New Zealand," said Pivac.

"They’ve got a massive forward pack, they’re big across the park really, and they bring a huge aerial threat so it’s going to be a different challenge.

“It’s a big Test match and we need to get what we think is the best side out there. We’re looking forward to having this side out there on the weekend and it’ll be really interesting to see how we go.

“There’s a lot of experience gone from the pack now and with what’s coming in terms of the South African pack, with their experience, it’s going to be a massive challenge for our boys and it’ll be interesting to see who steps up.

“Field position in this game is going to be massive, with the scrum that’s coming and line out drive, so we have to make sure we’re smart in how we play the game."

Wales: Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets); Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets - captain), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Josh Adams (Cardiff); Dan Biggar (Northampton), Tomos Williams (Cardiff); Rhys Carré (Cardiff), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Ospreys), Will Rowlands (Dragons), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Rugby), Taine Basham (Dragons), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons).

Replacements: Bradley Roberts (Ulster, uncapped), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), WillGriff John (Scarlets - uncapped), Ben Carter (Dragons), Seb Davies (Cardiff), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys), Liam Williams (Scarlets)