Rugby-Wales at full strength as Francis and Anscombe train


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - Wales are at full strength ahead of the first test against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday after prop Tomas Francis recovered from a back problem and flyhalf Gareth Anscombe belatedly arrived in the country.

The full squad were put through their paces on Monday with the recovery of Francis a particular boost for coach Wayne Pivac as his side comes up against what the latter describes as the best front row in world rugby.

Anscombe had been allowed to stay at home an extra 48 hours to try and be present at the birth of his second child, son Theo, who as it happened was delivered as the flyhalf was in the skies on his way to South Africa.

"It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours. I tried to stay behind to be there only just to miss it. I landed in South Africa to news of my baby son just being born," Anscombe said in a social media post.

Wales, who went on safari over the weekend, have settled in well on the Highveld ahead of the first test, with further matches in the series to come in Bloemfontein (July 9) and Cape Town (July 16).

"It has been a fantastically warm welcome and the facilities are fantastic. That has enabled us to have an ideal preparation and we’ve got everything we need to maximise our performance," assistant coach Stephen Jones told reporters on Monday.

"We know what’s coming – there is going to be a big aerial battle and it will be very physical at the breakdown.

"We have to be incredibly smart in the way we play the game, and we need balance to our game and to play in the right areas of the park."

(Reporting by Nick Said)

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