Wales v Argentina, Millennium Stadium, August 20
Key trio back for Wales
August 16, 2011
Ryan Jones will bring a wealth of experience to the back-row © PA Photos
Wales boss Warren Gatland has handed the captain's armband to Ryan Jones for their final World Cup warm-up clash with Argentina on Saturday.
The Welsh No.8 will equal Ieuan Evans' record of captaining the national side 28 times. And Jones will be joined in the first-team by key trio Lee Byrne, Leigh Halfpenny and Adam Jones - with all three making their first appearance in the first-team since the 2011 Six Nations.
Alongside Ryan Jones, Blues flanker Martyn Williams brings further experience to the Wales back-row taking his tally to 99 caps in the process - just one off Gareth Thomas and Stephen Jones' record. Sam Warburton - who captained Wales in their win over England - will sit out the clash along with Dragons No.8 Toby Faletau. Dan Lydiate retains his place in the side.
Adam Jones is back at tight-head having missed both warm-up Tests and will be partnered by Paul James at loose-head and Richard Hibbard at hooker making an all Ospreys front-row. Bradley Davies comes into the second-row engine room alongside Alun Wyn Jones.
The backs see four changes from the line-up which faced England with Tavis Knoyle starting at scrum-half in place of Mike Phillips. James Hook takes the fly-half reins instead of Rhys Priestland while George North switches wings to make way for the returning Halfpenny. Jamie Roberts switches to 12 with Jonathan Davies taking the outside centre berth. Byrne will start at fullback for Wales in his first start for the national side since the 2011 Six Nations.
Worryingly for Wales, however, is the absence of British & Irish Lions prop Gethin Jenkins. He last played for the national side in November 2010 and if selected for the World Cup will go to the tournament with a distinct lack of match action under his belt.
On the bench - fly-half Stephen Jones will have the chance to break the Welsh appearance record if he is given the chance. And Gatland has emphasised the importance of the match and insists there are places on the plane to New Zealand to play for.
"Criteria for selection has been about putting together a side to win the game, but also about giving some players the opportunity to impress and, therefore, bid for selection for the world Cup," said Gatland. "In some areas we are also looking at combinations with that opening game against South Africa on September 11 always kept in mind.
"Beating the Pumas on Saturday would also mean we retain that all important winning momentum going into the World Cup. But there are still many places up for grabs on that plane to New Zealand and the players all know they need to perform against the Pumas in order to further their own as well as the national cause."
Wales: Lee Byrne, Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North, James Hook, Tavis Knoyle; Paul James, Richard Hibbert, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Martyn Williams, Ryan Jones (c)
Replacements: Huw Bennett, Ryan Bevington, Andy Powell, Justin Tipuric, Lloyd Williams, Stephen Jones, Aled Brew
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont
Will Genia should lead the Wallabies against the Lions, Joe Tomane to win the final wing spot and Israel Folau at fullback, writes Greg Growden
"Has there ever been such a large disconnect between France's club teams and the international side?" Ian Moriarty weighs up the state of French rugby
"By carrying a Great Britain label to the Antipodes, and getting beaten by the Kiwis, they established a tradition which has lasted to this day." Huw Richards rewinds to 1888