Wales lose Powell for New Zealand tour

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The Independent Online

Andy Powell has been ruled out of Wales' game against world champions South Africa tomorrow and the two-Test New Zealand tour. The Cardiff Blues back-row forward had been recalled by the Wales coach, Warren Gatland, following the infamous golf buggy incident during this season's Six Nations Championship, but tore a thigh muscle in training. Newport-Gwent Dragons flanker Gavin Thomas will take Powell's place on tour, which features games against the All Blacks in Dunedin and Hamilton this month.

The Wales No 9 Mike Phillips, who enjoyed a starring role for the British and Irish Lions against South Africa last year, expects a typically robust challenge tomorrow. "You have to stand up to South Africa," said the scrum-half. "They are very confrontational, and they like to take charge of the contact area. They like to get in your face – they are all confident guys. But we worked them really hard on the Lions tour last summer. In all the Test matches they were out on their feet at the end, and I think that is what we have to try to do with Wales this weekend."

Wales have beaten South Africa only once – 11 years ago – but tomorrow's encounter sees them go in as favourites to repeat that feat. The Springboks are minus several players involved in last weekend's all-South African Super 14 final between the Bulls and Stormers.

"South Africa are a difficult team to break down, but I think we can rise to the challenge," Phillips said.

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