Rugby Union: Lewis lined up to replace Quinnell

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The Independent Online
THE PONTYPRIDD forward Geraint Lewis has been put on standby for Wales' game against Argentina at Llanelli on Saturday. The flanker, in the Wales A side to face Argentina tomorrow, will step up to the senior side should Scott Quinnell be ruled out.

Quinnell's appeal against his 14-day suspension by the Rugby Football Union takes place tonight. If it is dismissed, then he cannot face the Pumas.

Graham Henry, the Wales coach, will almost certainly switch Colin Charvis from blind-side flanker to No 8 should that happen, and call up the highly rated Lewis for his second cap but first start in a Welsh jersey.

Quinnell, now a Llanelli player, was sent off during Richmond's Allied Dunbar Premiership victory over Wasps last month for a late tackle on the England captain, Lawrence Dallaglio. Richmond have fiercely protested his innocence, claiming that Quinnell was harshly treated by the referee, Brian Campsall, and did not deserve the red card.

At the moment, Henry's team is unchanged from the one that shook the world champions, South Africa, on Saturday, a resounding vote of confidence for players who restored Welsh rugby's battered pride.

Henry said he was confident that Quinnell will be part of his team, but the RFU was last night unable to confirm reports that Dallaglio might have come out in Quinnell's defence.

Henry said: "Scott should not have been ordered off - it was a charge, not a tackle. If the appeal goes in Scott's favour, then it would be the right decision. The referee is a very good official, but we all make mistakes, and I am positive enough to expect a positive result."

The New Zealander has not surprisingly kept faith with those players who outplayed the Springboks at Wembley but were beaten 28-20. Henry, meanwhile, is urging Welsh rugby fans to keep the result in perspective.

"We could have, and should have won," he said. "We lost it, rather than them winning. It was a reasonable performance, but we lost our discipline towards the end. I hope the Welsh nation keeps its feet on the ground. It was a positive start, but we only played in patches and at the end of the day, we didn't win the game.

"This is a quality Argentine team that has played together against Italy and France. We need another performance of real quality to establish a psychological advantage for the encounters to come."

Wales' Lions centre Scott Gibbs echoed Henry's sentiments that the Welsh public should not get carried away.

"We had chances to win the game, but we didn't win it. It is important we stay level-headed and apply ourselves for Saturday," Gibbs said.

"Argentina are going to be very similar types of opponents. They have heavy, athletic forwards, and we've got to understand that one swallow doesn't make a summer."

WALES (v Argentina, Stradey Park, Llanelli, Saturday): S Howarth (Sale); G Thomas (Cardiff), M Taylor (Swansea), S Gibbs (Swansea), D James; N Jenkins (both Pontypridd), R Howley (capt); A Lewis, J Humphreys (all Cardiff), C Anthony (Swansea), C Quinnell (Richmond), C Wyatt (Llanelli), C Charvis (Swansea), M Williams (Pontypridd), S Quinnell (Llanelli). Replacements: M Rayer (Cardiff), N Boobyer (Llanelli), D Llewellyn (Ebbw Vale), M Voyle (Llanelli), D Morris (Swansea), B Evans (Swansea), B Williams (Richmond).

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