Wales v Argentina: Head coach Warren Gatland relishing Cory Allen debut after seeing his centre options depleted by injury
First choice combination of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies are on the long-term injury list which gives the Cardiff Blues star a chance to shine on Saturday
Friday 15 November 2013
Wales boss Warren Gatland is relishing the prospect of midfield young gun Cory Allen making his Test debut against Argentina on Saturday.
With British and Irish Lions Test centres Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts both injured, the spotlight will be trained on 20-year-old Allen when Wales target a first autumn series victory since they beat the Pumas in 2009.
"We are giving Cory a chance," Gatland said. "He is big, he's rangy and he goes in with an opportunity to impress.
"Sometimes you have to be physical, carry the ball and run hard, other times you are looking for players to create space and get passes away and put people into holes. That is what Cory's challenge is for the weekend.
"With Jonathan being injured, we are looking for some cover in the centres. It is a chance for a young guy to develop at centre and get some strength in depth there."
Gatland has made four switches from the side beaten 24-15 by South Africa last weekend, with Allen lining up alongside Scott Williams in midfield and fly-half Dan Biggar starting instead of Rhys Priestland.
In the pack, Scarlets front-row prospect Rhodri Jones takes over from Adam Jones, who has a calf muscle problem, and an ankle injury sidelines flanker Dan Lydiate, so Justin Tipuric wears the number seven shirt and skipper Sam Warburton moves to blindside.
Prop Gethin Jenkins, meanwhile, will become only the fourth Welshman to win 100 caps for his country after Stephen Jones, Gareth Thomas and Martyn Williams.
"We've had a hit-out now, and we need to improve from last weekend, finishing off the chances we create," Gatland added.
"When Jonathan Davies made a break and went through (last Saturday), if you look at the lines of support they were not positive enough. The top teams finish it off when they make a break because their support lines are so positive and they get on the inside of the pass.
"We are working on the fine margins now to try to get this team to that top level. Those little one per-centers are now a huge priority for us."
And Warburton said: "The players are doing everything we can to make sure we win.
"We've had a really good training week, with no negativity around the training ground. Everybody's really looking forward to it and I think it's a great team selection. I personally can't wait.
"We won't look too much at what happened between Argentina and England last week because when you play these southern sides I find it could be a different team that turns up from one week to the other.
"We are preparing for the best Argentina side, but I believe we will be good enough.to get the win."
Wing Tom Prydie has been released from the squad and will return to the Newport Gwent Dragons for further treatment on a hamstring injury.
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