On Saturday, Wales take on South Africa at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in a game that many commentators feel will define both teams’ November campaigns.
Beaten by Australia and New Zealand either side of a 13-6 win over Georgia, Wales go into the match knowing that victory would not only see them balance out the wins and losses column but also boost their World Rugby ranking.
While it is not possible for Warren Gatland’s side to move up or down from their current position of seventh, an emphatic win by more than 15 points would see them gain 1.64 rating points and improve their overall total to 82.62 – just under seven tenths less than the Springboks.
The Wales team shows five changes, including a debut for Scarlets centre Hadleigh Parkes, while scrum-half Aled Davies is the only other new face in the backline. Parkes will partner Scott Williams in the centre with Davies lining up alongside Dan Biggar at half-back. Leigh Halfpenny, Steff Evans and Hallam Amos feature in an unchanged back three.
There are three changes in the pack with Kristian Dacey and Scott Andrews coming into the front row alongside Rob Evans. Second-row Cory Hill packs down alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones, while the back row of Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi and Taulupe Faletau is unaltered.
If beaten, Allister Coetzee’s South Africa will slip below Scotland into sixth place irrespective of the scoreline.
Wales have beaten South Africa on their last two visits to Cardiff, but before that the Springboks won seven on the bounce.
Victory for the Springboks would result in them replacing Australia in fourth place in the rankings, with as many as 1.36 points available to them if they win by more than 15 points. In that scenario, South Africa would move to within a fraction of Ireland in third.
South Africa have also made five changes as they look to round off the year with a hat-trick of victories, following wins over France and Italy.
In the front row, Steven Kitshoff takes over from the Springboks’ most-capped prop Tendai Mtawarira, with Siya Kolisi and Dan du Preez coming in for Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen in the back row. The Springboks' other changes see hooker Malcolm Marx take over from Bongi Mbonambi and Warrick Gelant replaces Courtnall Skosan on the left wing for his first test start.
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