The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
Lee Byrne has made a rapid recovery from a broken hand and steps in at full-back, with the influential James Hook moving to centre at the expense of clubmate Andrew Bishop.
Martyn Williams will move within three appearances of joining Gareth Thomas as Wales’ most-capped player after replacing calf injury victim Sam Warburton in the back row to win his 97th cap.
Captain Ryan Jones returns to the bench alongside Andy Powell who is inline to make his first Wales appearance since being disciplined for driving a golf buggy while drunk during last year’s RBS 6 Nations.
But it is the inclusion of highly-rated North that is likely to grab the headlines, with Gatland claiming his selection offers Wales a glimpse of the future.
“We know this is a bold selection, but we have always tried to look at the bigger picture and George (North), today, is the bigger picture and at 6ft 4 inches and 16stone 7lbs he gives us quite a canvass to work with,” said Gatland.
“There is no pressure on him, he just needs to go out and enjoy the experience of winning his first cap.
“With Lee Byrne back at full-back and James Hook hopefully with the ball in his hands more often at centre we have plenty of experience and guile around in our back line and are simply looking for the same again up front.
“We worked hard last week on ensuring we were combative up front, we put a huge emphasis on forward play in training and we now know we can bring that kind of game into play when necessary.
“We were happy with aspects of our performance against Australia, but you can't work on everything in just a two week build up and we have been able to introduce new aspects this week."
Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); George North (Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Blues), James Hook (Ospreys), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets, capt), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Dan Lydiate (Dragons), Martyn Williams (Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys).
Replacements: Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Paul James (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Andy Powell (London Wasps), Richie Rees (Blues), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), Chris Czekaj (Blues).
South Africa: Gio Aplon; Bjorn Basson, Frans Steyn, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Deon Stegmann; Victor Matfield (capt), Bakkies Botha; Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, A N Other, Francois Hougaard, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie.