Wales ring changes for Argentina Test

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The Independent Online

Wales coach Warren Gatland has made six changes from the team that edged past Samoa for Saturday's Millennium Stadium clash against Argentina.

As expected, 21-year-old Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies has secured a place in midfield alongside Jamie Roberts, replacing nose injury victim Tom Shanklin.

Roberts moves to outside centre to accommodate Davies, while there are recalls for a quartet of 2009 British and Irish Lions, with wing Shane Williams, fly-half Stephen Jones, hooker Matthew Rees and flanker Martyn Williams all featuring after being rested against Samoa.

The one slight surprise sees scrum-half Gareth Cooper preferred to Dwayne Peel. Cooper started against New Zealand earlier this month, but Peel was among Wales' best players during the 17-13 Samoa win.

Davies for Shanklin is the only change from the side beaten by New Zealand 10 days ago.

On the bench, there is an opportunity for uncapped Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate, while Ospreys centre Andrew Bishop - called into the squad as cover for Shanklin yesterday - is also a replacement.

Gatland though, has resisted any temptation to tinker with his front-row in terms of the props.

Gethin Jenkins and Paul James faced a severe examination from the Samoan scrum last Friday night, with the South Sea Islanders' former Saracens tighthead Census Johnston causing particular problems.

And life is not about to get any easier for the Wales scrum, as Argentina are widely regarded as world rugby's most destructive scrummaging unit.

Assessing his line-up, Gatland said: "Jonathan came on at inside centre on Friday when Tom Shanklin was injured, and he acquitted himself well.

"That's his natural position. He plays there for his region and is comfortable there.

"Jamie is the more experienced player and more than capable of playing at 13, and we are looking forward to the continuation of the partnership from the second-half last weekend.

"With James Hook going so well at full-back, it was important for us to continue his international development in that position."

And as for Lydiate's call-up to the substitutes, Gatland added: "Dan has impressed in training.

"We have selected a small squad, and he is the only one who has not been involved so far, so we felt it was important for his development that he gets the opportunity to win his first cap and put what he has learnt into practice."

Wales team to play Argentina at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday:

J Hook (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), G Cooper (Cardiff Blues); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), P James (Ospreys); A-W Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons); A Powell (Cardiff Blues), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt).

Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), D Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), D Peel (Sale Sharks), A Bishop (Ospreys), T James (Cardiff Blues).