Rugby Union: Howley hopes for a brighter tour future

IN THE unlikely event of Rob Howley chucking in an increasingly successful career as the Cardiff scrum-half and captain of Wales, he would not make much of a travel agent. Durban, Rob? "A shattering experience." Pretoria? "Very disappointing." Australia? "A bit of a disaster, really."

Howley and summer tours have gone together like a dose of Montezuma's Revenge on the beach in Acapulco. Getting there has not been a problem; having a lovely time certainly has. Back in 1993, he was crocked on Wales' trip to Namibia and Zimbabwe, although he would probably not have been selected ahead of the incumbent Rupert Moon anyway. The summer scene passed him by for two years then, sandwiched between two Wales tours to the southern hemisphere, there was the pain of injury with the Lions in 1997.

A year earlier Wales, with Howley in the side, conceded 96 points in two Test defeats in Australia. In Pretoria last year, it was different. Wales conceded 96 points in one Test defeat, with a hamstrung Howley a helpless spectator in the Loftus Versfeld stands.

No wonder the man who today captains Wales for the 15th time in his 32nd international is hoping for a brighter future. And, ironically, the prime evidence is a run of four successive Wales wins on foreign soil. The bandwagon has rolled nicely from a thrilling victory in France, on to Italy, Wembley (at "home" against England) and, last Saturday afternoon, Buenos Aires.

Today Wales enter the Pumas' lair again, hunting a first Test series win in Argentina by a home union. "I haven't had a great time with tours," said Howley, "especially in the last three years. Hopefully this will be the first of many better ones. It's nice that we've got the carrot of a bit of history to go for and if we can win against Argentina we will be in top nick against South Africa in two weeks' time."

Lose and Wales will be reflecting on three defeats in five matches here. Win and Graham Henry's side will indeed receive South Africa a fortnight today in great heart. Two days later Henry will name his 30-man squad for the World Cup, with France, Canada and Romania pencilled in for warm- up Tests.

"The boys will be coming back to Cardiff and into the Millennium Stadium," said Howley. "It is on a lot of the players' minds now, what a great feeling it would be to be in that first Wales XV to run out at the new stadium. For me personally, if I'm captain, the first game there would be very precious."

Argentina, who lost the first Test 36-26 after leading 23-0, pin their hopes of a shared series on greater flexibility in the pack. The flanker Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe moves up to the second row, much as Chris Wyatt has done for Wales with notable results. The Pumas make six changes in all, including Felipe Contepomi for Gonzalo Quesada at outside-half.

For their part, Wales have restored Gareth Thomas, with 18 tries in 33 caps, to the right wing and dropped Colin Charvis from the back row in favour of Pontypridd's Geraint Lewis. For the historically accident-prone tourists, a welcome piece of history beckons.

WALES (v Argentina, second Test, Buenos Aires): S Howarth (Sale); G Thomas (Cardiff), M Taylor (Swansea), A Bateman (Northampton), D James (Pontypridd); N Jenkins (Pontypridd), R Howley (Cardiff, capt); P Rogers (Newport), G Jenkins, B Evans (both Swansea), C Quinnell (Cardiff), C Wyatt (Llanelli), G Lewis (Pontypridd), B Sinkinson (Neath), S Quinnell (Llanelli) Replacements: N Boobyer, S Jones (both Llanelli), D Llewellyn (Ebbw Vale), M Voyle (Llanelli), D Young, A Lewis, J Humphreys (all Cardiff).

ARGENTINA: D Albanese (SIC); O Bartolucci, J Orengo (both Atletico del Rosario), L Arbizu (Brive), G Camardon (Alumni); F Contepomi (Newman), A Pichot (Richmond); R Grau (Saracens), F Mendez (Northampton), M Reggiardo (Castres), P Sporleder (Curupayti, capt), I Fernandez Lobbe (Liceo Naval), R Martin (SIC), M Ruiz (Teque), G Longo (SIC) Replacements: O Hasan (Auch), M Ledesma (Curupayti), A Allub (Jockey Club), L Ostiglia (Hindu), J Cilley (SIC), J Fernandez Miranda, N Fernandez Miranda (both Hindu).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm it was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf plays a World War II soldier in forthcoming drama Fury
films

Eccentric Fury star, 28, reveals he is 'not a really confident actor'

Life and Style
Time and Oak have developed a product that allows drinkers to customise the flavour and improve the quality of cheaper whiskey
food + drink

Sport
football

Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday

Life and Style
The final 12 acts will be facing Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh tonight
fashion

The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell

News
news

Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home

News
people
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Senior Change Engineer (Windows, Linux, VMWare) - London £35k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past