Rugby Union: Nine-try spree boost for Henry

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The Independent Online
MATTHEW ROBINSON pushed his claims for a place in the Wales team to face Argentina on Saturday with a blistering performance in the 69- 44 defeat of Tucuman late on Tuesday night. The Swansea player scored four tries to remind the Welsh coach, Graham Henry, he is ready to return to the international scene.

Robinson, capped three times, was dropped by Wales after the Five Nations' Championship victory in France last March, but there has been a chronic lack of speed on the Welsh wings since, and Robinson's return to top form will have given Henry a welcome selection headache.

"We have got to take into consideration what happened in the last part of the Five Nations, but Matthew put his hand up," said Henry. "Wingers' jobs are to finish and he certainly scored a couple of tries against the odds. He had a very good game."

Robinson's speed was the highlight of a nine-try show from Wales which silenced fervent local support in Tucuman's Atletico stadium.

Byron Hayward scored 24 points as Wales recorded their first victory of the tour following their defeat against Buenos Aires last weekend. The Llanelli outside-half only missed with one kick at goal out of 12, landing nine conversions and two penalties.

Wales led 20-3 after 11 minutes but conceded 22 points during a miserable 10-minute spell to trail 25-20. However, they regained their composure, with centre Mark Taylor and full-back Neil Boobyer both crossing twice and No 8 Geraint Lewis once in addition to Robinson's heroics.

Ireland have retained five players from Monday's 43-6 defeat of New South Wales Country for their game against New South Wales at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday: the backs Matt Mostyn, Girvan Dempsey and Brian O'Driscoll, along with Jeremy Davidson and Andy Ward from the pack.

The Australian-born Mostyn has been switched from left to right-wing, while Dempsey moves from full-back to left-wing, where he played all six matches for Ireland last season.

Davidson and Ward, meanwhile, retain their positions at lock and open- side flanker respectively.

The Irish international wing Darragh O'Mahony has signed for Saracens after a year at Bedford. The 26-year-old is the second Test player acquired by the Watford club this week, following the French stand-off Thierry Lacroix, who signed from Harlequins on Tuesday.

The Scotland prop Dave Hilton is considering an offer from Glasgow Caledonians to turn his back on the Allied Dunbar Premiership. The Bath loose-head prop is unhappy with contract negotiations.

Bath have refused to comment either on the Hilton situation, or speculation linking them with the Richmond openside flanker Adam Vander and the Bridgend back-row forward Gavin Thomas.

France have called up four new players and their former captain, Abdel Benazzi, to face Romania in a Test match in Castres today.

The Toulon No 8 Jean-Luc Aqua and centre Guillaume Delmotte, the Castres winger Olivier Sarramea and the Brive flanker Lionel Mallier earn their first caps, while the lock Benazzi makes his comeback after a long injury lay-off.

IRELAND (v New South Wales, Sydney Football Stadium, Saturday): C O'Shea (London Irish); M Mostyn (Begles Bordeaux), K Maggs (Bath), B O'Driscoll (UCD), G Dempsey (Terenure College); E Elwood (Galwegians), C Scally (UCD); R Corrigan (Lansdowne), R Nesdale (Newcastle), P Wallace (Saracens), J Davidson (Castres), P Johns (Saracens), T Brennan (St Mary's College), A Ward (Ballynahinch), D O'Cuinneagain (Sale, capt).

FRANCE (v Romania, Castres, today): J-L Sadourny; P Bernat-Salles, C Lamaison, G Delmotte, O Sarramea; T Castaignede; F Galthie; J-L Aqua, O Magne, L Mallier; O Brouzet, A Benazzi; S Marconnet, R Ibanez (capt), J-J Crenca. Replacements: P Mignoni, U Mola, G Merceron, C Labit, A Pelous, F Tournaire, M Dal Maso.