Ankle injury rules Davies out of Wales' Pumas Test

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The Independent Online

Wales have been forced to make a change among their replacements for tomorrow's Test against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.

Cardiff Blues lock Bradley Davies is out because of an ankle injury suffered in training earlier this week, meaning a call-up for Ospreys forward Jonathan Thomas.

"Bradley suffered a ligament sprain to his ankle during training on Tuesday, and subsequently has been pulled out of the match against the Pumas this weekend," said the Wales physiotherapist Mark Davies. "He will remain in camp, and his progress will be reviewed early next week before a final assessment is made."

Scarlets full-back Morgan Stoddart, meanwhile, has suffered a torn hamstring, which means his autumn series is over. Stoddart was called into the squad earlier this month and featured among the substitutes against Samoa last Friday. He did not gain selection for the match-day 22 this weekend.

Davies added: "Morgan has a grade-two tear to his hamstring and he will now be in recovery and rehab for a period of up to four weeks." The Wales head coach Warren Gatland and his management team will decide early next week whether to draft in any players ahead of the autumn finale against Australia.

The France No 8 Louis Picamoles has been ruled out of tomorrow's Test against Samoa with a knee injury. It was announced yesterday that Picamoles, who picked up his injury in training, had undergone medical tests that revealed a contusion on his right knee. He will be replaced by flanker Julien Bonnaire, who will earn his 27th cap. The France coach, Marc Lièvremont, has called Bayonne's Julien Puricelli as a late replacement. Puricelli will be on the bench.

The Italy coach, Nick Mallett, has made five changes to the starting line-up that caused New Zealand problems last weekend for tomorrow's Test against world champions South Africa in Udine.

Former Springboks coach Mallett has revamped his backs with three switches. Matteo Pratichetti replaces winger Kaine Robertson, Alberto Sgarbi takes Gonzalo Canale's place at outside centre after picking up his previous four caps at winger, and Simon Picone comes in at scrum half for Tito Tebaldi to form a half-back partnership with rugby league convert Craig Gower. Mallett has also tinkered with the pack that gave the All Blacks forwards a torrid time.

Flanker Simone Favaro, who was impressive in Italy's June tour of Australia and New Zealand, will take Mauro Bergamasco's place in the back row. Fabio Ongaro gets the nod ahead of Leonardo Ghiraldini at hooker.