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).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?