WALES boss Wayne Pivac believes bright Dragons prospect Ben Carter will reap the rewards of a "baptism of fire" when slugging it out with South Africa's bruisers.

The 20-year-old lock from Caldicot faces the biggest test of his 26-game senior career at Principality Stadium on Saturday evening (kick-off 5.30pm).

Carter has been called up to the bench to face the world champions and is likely to come on for his fourth cap in the closing stages.

The injury to Alun Wyn Jones has led to Adam Beard being partnered by Dragons lock Will Rowlands with another Rodney Parade second rower providing back-up.

Carter only made his senior debut for the Dragons against Munster on November 1 last year and has made 23 club appearances to go along with three Test starts versus Canada and Argentina (twice) last summer.

South Wales Argus: DEBUT: Ben Carter in action for Wales against CanadaDEBUT: Ben Carter in action for Wales against Canada

The physicality of the Pumas made it a steep learning curve but things go up another notch this weekend against a massive South African pack that is backed up by serious bulk on the bench.

The Springboks have named the formidable duo of Eben Etzebeth and Lood De Jager in the second row with Franco Mostert to come off the bench.

Carter is in at the deep end and the Wales head coach can't wait to see how he fares.

"What a great moment for him," said Pivac. "This is Alun Wyn when he was young – he came into Test matches and was up against more experienced sides and players.

"That's how you learn. It's a baptism of fire sometimes and that's certainly the case this time.

"We've got two big men in the second row and we'd like them to go for a major part of the game.

"We'll put the onus on our boys to do a lot of work and then Ben gets an opportunity. I'm sure he's going to relish it and enjoy it a lot."

South Wales Argus: TEST: Ben Carter up against the Ospreys' Wales duo of Alun Wyn Jones and Bradley DaviesTEST: Ben Carter up against the Ospreys' Wales duo of Alun Wyn Jones and Bradley Davies

Carter has rapidly become an influence at the Dragons, who admitted their surprise at how quickly the young long took to senior rugby.

The loss of Jones through injury and Cory Hill and Jake Ball after they moved to Japanese clubs has led to rapid progress on the international stage.

Pivac knows that the Dragon is on a steep learning curve and will make mistakes, but believes it will serve him good as Wales work towards the 2023 World Cup.

"We've just got to remember how old Ben is and how much rugby he's played at senior level," said the head coach. "But with injuries, guys like him are thrust into the environment and he'll learn a lot."

There will be a four-man Dragons contingent in action with back rowers Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright remaining in the XV after strong performances against New Zealand.