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Rugby Union
Wales prepare for final warm-up match
Following their 19-9 victory over England, Wales make nine changes for final World Cup warm-up with Argentina.
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2011 14:15
In the absence of Matthew Rees, Ryan Jones captains the side for a record-equalling 28 times [GALLO/GETTY] 

The return of prop Adam Jones, winger Leigh Halfpenny and fullback Lee Byrne have boosted Wales for their last Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Argentina at Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

All three have been carrying injuries, but passed fitness tests to face the Pumas.

Flanker Martyn Williams, earning his 99th cap, hooker Richard Hibbard and scrumhalf Tavis Knoyle will also make their first starts in the last of three tests Wales scheduled to prepare them for the World Cup starting next month in New Zealand.

Wales made nine changes on Tuesday to the side which beat England 19-9 in Cardiff last weekend.

Ryan Jones will captain the side for a record-equalling 28th time, as Matthew Rees has been ruled out of the tournament with a neck injury and current skipper Sam Warburton is rested.

Martyn Williams and Jones will add a combined total of 151 caps to the back row, with Jones equalling Ieuan Evans's national record as captain.

Williams 99th cap will take him a step closer to the appearance record of 100, held jointly by Gareth Thomas and Stephen Jones, although Jones could pull clear if he comes off the bench to win his 101st cap.

"Beating the Pumas on Saturday would also mean we retain that all-important winning momentum going into the World Cup"

Wales coach Warren Gatland

Head coach Warren Gatland, looking ahead to next month's World Cup in New Zealand, said: "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.

"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."

Team: Lee Byrne; Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; James Hook, Tavis Knoyle; Paul James, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Martyn Williams, Ryan Jones (captain).

Source:
Agencies
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