Wales coach Rob Howley has welcomed the challenge set by Springbok selectors who have named a South African side - for the Principality Building Society Summer Test at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday 5 June (KO 2.30pm) - boasting a total of 531 caps between them.
As expected, half a dozen Europe-based stars join a match-day 22 that also includes World Cup winning captain Jon Smit and former Ospreys scrum-half Ricky Januarie who both start.
Only two uncapped players figure in the squad, Stormers wing Gio Aplon and his club colleague, back row Francois Louw, while Racing Metro's Francois Steyn, Toulon's Joe van Niekerk, Bath's Butch James and Irish-based trio Jean de Villiers, CJ van der Linde and BJ Botha are all involved.
De Villiers, Botha and van der Linde all featured in the Boks' final Test of 2009 against Ireland at Croke Park in November. Steyn last played for the Springboks in the Vodacom Tri-Nations decider against New Zealand in Hamilton last August, while 2007 World Cup fly-half James and No8 van Niekerk last represented South Africa in Tests against Australia in August 2008.
"The first thing that strikes you is the level of experience and pure rugby intelligence the Springboks are able to put on the field," said Howley.
"The strength in depth they have in South African rugby is immense and you only have to look at the side they have selected to see that.
"They have recalled some extremely experienced players from their overseas contingent and those players will be relishing the opportunity to pull on that green and gold jersey again and, in a World Cup year, they will have something to prove to their coaches.
"If we could come away with a result against this Springbok side it would have real meaning for us and set us up for our tour of New Zealand.
"We keep repeating that we want to test ourselves against the best world rugby has to offer, and there is no doubting that we will be doing just that on 5th June and thereafter."
Howley is hopeful that the 5th June meeting with the Springboks in Cardiff can become a springboard for Wales, but he also has a word or warning about the Millennium Stadium factor and is hoping the home fans can give his side an extra edge.
"The Millennium Stadium is one of the best venues on the world stage," said Howley.
"We faced the likes of Butch (James) and Jean (de Villiers) over in South Africa during our 2008 tour there but they will be relishing the opportunity to come to the Millennium Stadium to play, not just for selection, but for the experience in itself.
"The stadium can bring out the best in opposition teams, but hopefully the crowd will see we have a magnificent opportunity here and get right behind us in a big way on the day and cancel that factor out.
"There are plenty of stars in the Springbok side who both the crowd and the players will be familiar with, but we will be picking the strongest possible Welsh side and going into the game with real confidence.
"They have a host of intelligent and experienced players like (Ricky) Januarie and James, so we will need to be on our mettle, but we believe in ourselves and we are very much looking forward to the challenge."
The Springbok selection also sees Ruan Pienaar start his first Test at fly-half since the Tri-Nations clash with the All Blacks in Bloemfontein in July last year, while Januarie, who has been a regular squad member over the past few years, will start his first Test since the record win over England at Twickenham in London at the end of 2008.
Van der Linde will play at loosehead and Botha at tighthead with Bok skipper Smit at hooker, where he finished the 2009 season against Ireland.
Bulls back rower Dewald Potgieter, who earned his debut Test cap from the bench against Ireland last year, gets his first Test start on the blindside flank with regular Juan Smith unavailable for personal reasons.
The experienced lock pairing of Andries Bekker and Danie Rossouw also featured in last year's final Test against Ireland and the bench includes six players who were part of the 2009 end-of-year tour to Europe - hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle, prop Jannie du Plessis, lock Alistair Hargreaves, flanker Dewald Potgieter and centres Meyer Bosman and Juan de Jongh.
Tickets for the Wales v South Africa fixture are currently on public sale and are selling fast.
Priced at £25 per person or £80 for a family( 2 adults, 2 children), tickets for the 'Principality Building Society Summer Test' can be purchased from at the WRU's Cardiff Arms Store (No 8 Westgate Street, Cardiff); via Ticketmaster (tel 08442 777888, www.ticketmaster.co.uk), Ticketline (02920 230130, www.ticketlineuk.com) and via the WRU Official Website www.wru.co.uk/tickets.
The remaining WRU hospitality packages can be snapped up from £119 for the 'SA Gold' package and fans should act fast to secure the hottest tickets via the official website www.millenniumstadium.com.
Further hospitality information is available online for all packages including the 'Platinum Suite' at £229 and the recently launched after popular demand 'Springbox Suite' at £139.
Springboks vs Wales - Principality Building Society Summer Test, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday 5 June, 2010
Wales Head Coach Rob Howley talks to WRU TV's Sebastian Barrett about the 36-man squad he has just named for the forthcoming Under Armour series, which includes two uncapped players, Ospreys duo Sam Davies and Rory Thornton.
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