All you need to know about the Test between Argentina and Wales in San Juan
Argentina v Wales Preview
Cory Hill will captain Wales for the first time when he leads the team out in San Juan for the first of two Tests against Argentina.
Warren Gatland has selected an inexperienced pack to go up against the renowned Pumas scrum, with only three players who have reached double figures for caps – Hill has played 16 times for his country, Ross Moriarty 21 times and Rob Evans, who has come into the starting line-up following a training injury to Wyn Jones, 25 times.
In contrast, Argentina captain Agustin Creevy has only ten fewer caps than the entire Welsh pack combined, with 71, while the young but experienced duo of Tomas Lavanini and Guido Petti are reunited in the second row. So this match is likely to be a big test for the Wales set-piece.
Wales will be looking for their fourth straight Test win having beaten South Africa in Washington last weekend while Argentina’s players will be feeling confident given that the Jaguares have been performing well in Super Rugby.
Here’s what you need to know about the match…
What’s the big team news?
Warren Gatland has made eight personnel changes and one positional change to his starting XV. George North moves back to the wing from centre while Rhys Patchell and Gareth Davies come in at half-back and Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams start in midfield.
Related: Downtime with Rhys Patchell
Josh Adams, called up to replace the injured Steff Evans, will win his third cap on the wing while James Davies is picked at openside for what will be his second Test appearance.
The other changes in the pack see Adam Beard start in the second row in place of Bradley Davies and Rob Evans get the No 1 shirt. Wyn Jones was originally due to start at loosehead but has since been ruled out of the tour after picking up a calf injury in training.
Aaron Wainwright could make his debut from the bench having been an unused replacement against South Africa last week.
Bautista Delguy, 21, will make his Argentina debut in a team that sees six changes from the one that faced Ireland last November.
In the pack, Guido Petti comes in at lock and Javier Ortega Desio at No 8. There is a different midfield combination in Jeronimo de la Fuente and Matias Orlando while Gonzalo Bertranou starts ahead of the experienced Martin Landajo at scrum-half.
Emiliano Boffelli, who features in the current issue of Rugby World magazine, also makes only his second Test start at full-back having spent the majority of his international career on the wing.
What have the coaches said?
Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade: “We must maintain the base of Jaguares, to take advantage of all the good that it is being done. Wales are not going to study us based on what we played in November but in Super Rugby.
“Then we must have variants to be able to generate some type of surprise, considering also the game style.”
Wales head coach Warren Gatland: “We know we have got two big Tests ahead of us against Argentina. They are a side that come together full of confidence and it is important we take our opportunities.
“There is a lot of exciting youth in this squad and Saturday is a chance for them to continue building their experience on the Test scene and to put a marker down.”
Any interesting statistics?
- Wales’ only series win in Argentina came in 1999, when they won 36-26 and 23-16, and they haven’t won a Test in the country since 2004 as they lost both Tests in the 2006 series.
- Jaguares wing Bautista Delguy is the joint fifth top try-scorer in Super Rugby this season with eight tries.
- Wales’ three Test wins in Argentina have all come in Buenos Aires but this year’s two matches are being played in San Juan and Santa Fe.
- Argentina have won only three of their last 20 Tests and those victories came against Japan in 2016 and Georgia and Italy in 2017.
- George North has more Wales caps (74) than five other players in the starting back-line – Hallam Amos (16), Josh Adams (2), Hadleigh Parkes (7), Rhys Patchell (8) and Gareth Davies (32) – combined.
When does it kick off and is it on TV?
The match is being played at in San Juan in the west of Argentina, close to the Andes, and the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario has a capacity of more than 25,000. It kicks off at 8.40pm UK time on Saturday night and you can watch the game live on Channel 4.
Andrew Brace, who lives in Ireland but was born in Cardiff, is the referee for this fixture. South African Jaco Peyper and Mathieu Raynal, of France, are his assistants and the same trio will also be in charge of next week’s second Test, with Peyper taking the whistle.
What are the line-ups?
ARGENTINA: Emiliano Boffelli; Bautista Delguy, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano; Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertranou; Santiago Garcia Botta, Agustin Creevy (captain), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Guido Petti, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Javier Ortega Desio.
Replacements: Julian Montoya, Javier Diaz, Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lezana, Martin Landajo, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Sebastian Cancelliere.
WALES: Hallam Amos; Josh Adams, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, George North; Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans, Elliot Dee, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Cory Hill (captain), Seb Davies, James Davies, Ross Moriarty.
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