Wales v South Africa: Leigh Halfpenny ruled out of Springbok Test

George North and Leigh Halfpenny
George North could return for Wales against South Africa, but Leigh Halfpenny is out
Autumn international: Wales v South Africa
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 24 November Kick-off: 17:20 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, S4C, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has been ruled out of Saturday's autumn Test against South Africa after failing to recover from concussion.

The 29-year-old was injured in a challenge by Australia's Samu Kerevi on 10 November, an incident which coach Warren Gatland called "reckless".

"It is disappointing to lose Leigh in the situation that it happened," said assistant coach Rob Howley.

George North has recovered from a bruised leg and is available.

Dragons back Hallam Amos has been added to the squad as cover for the full-back and wing positions as Wales bid to complete a clean sweep of wins.

Gatland's side have beaten Scotland, Australia and Tonga in November.

"Leigh did some training on Saturday morning and he was still feeling a little bit light-headed," said assistant coach Rob Howley.

"It is a common sense approach. The player's welfare came first so unfortunately he will miss out this weekend.

"I am glad to say George North is back in full training and he is available for selection."

South African backs coach Mzwandile Stick does not believe Halfpenny's absence will affect Welsh tactics much.

"If you look at the way Wales play, they've been playing the same type of rugby consistently for the last year. When we played them in Washington (in June), we knew what was coming, they've got a good balance between their running game and kicking game."

Wales have won their past three meetings with the Springboks and will name their team for the match at midday on Thursday, shortly before South Africa.

The tourists have their most experienced lock, Eben Etzebeth, back in full training for the first time since he was injured against England in the opening match of their tour.

Samu Karevi flattens Wales' Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny left the field after this heavy challenge by Australia centre Samu Karevi

Howley said Halfpenny's absence will provide an opportunity for someone else, though his importance as a place kicker may strengthen the hand of Dan Biggar as a candidate for the fly-half position.

"We feel as if we have a lot of strength in depth in the back three from the Six Nations and summer tour," added Howley.

"It gives us an opportunity, maybe. Liam Williams can step up there, Gareth Anscombe has played full-back and Hallam Amos . . . so it's just trying to get that right mix."

Anscombe, Biggar and Rhys Patchell are battling for the 10 position against South Africa.

"Everyone has debated the 10 position for many years in Welsh rugby and that will never change," said Howley.

"They are all different and have individual qualities.

"Gareth played particularly well against Australia but equally Dan and Rhys were impressive against Tonga.

"Personally I have never experienced a squad with the strength in depth we have got now."

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All pictures: Huw Evans Agency


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