Jarvis goes top of the A-level candidates

Wales A 66 Uruguay 22
Click to follow
The Independent Online

From the shores of the River Plate to the banks of the Taff, it was a fruitless third and last match of their tour for Uruguay. But perhaps they got more out of this fractured contest than Wales, who gave Graham Henry and his assistant-elect Steve Hansen little to savour at the Arms Park.

Henry writes in the programme for today's senior international against Australia that he feels some 50 players are in the frame for the next World Cup. They are currently in four groups – A, B, C and D. Clearly those at the Millennium Stadium today are As and Bs; last night's bunch were mostly of the C and D variety, particularly with as many as 15 contenders for places currently injured.

Then there are those outside the Scrabble box. Scott Gibbs, Dai Young and Garin Jenkins have given international rugby the big E, as in elbow, while Peter Rogers, a rock in Henry's 10-game winning run in 1999, was yesterday catching a few Zs in the Cardiff front row against Cambridge University.

As for Uruguay, with only three professional players they were busy minding their Ps and Qs after having two men sent off for foul play in their defeat at Neath in midweek. For the tour opener at Newport, also a defeat, they were victims of some dodgy translation. Los Teros – they are named after the national bird, apparently – were introduced as The Terrors, although this was not entirely inappropriate if Neath was anything to go by.

Uruguay kept South Africa and Scotland to 43 and 39 points respectively at the 1999 World Cup, and next year's Americas zone qualifiers were the focus of this, only their third trip to Europe. Here, the light blue jerseys were mostly happy to garner points from kicks, with Diego Aguirre putting over four penalties, predominantly given against the Welsh forwards, and Ricardo Sierra dropping a 33rd-minute goal. That was until halfway through the second half when Lee Jarvis and Jon Pritchard were caught crossing behind their own posts, and Uruguay's hooker Francisco de los Santos burrowed over from a tapped penalty.

Wales A's ambitions were largely limited to individuals pushing their claims for the Six Nations in 2002. Gavin Henson, capped this season at fly-half but latterly on the wing for his club Swansea, swaggered round Benjamin Bono for the sixth try of the first half. Andy Williams, one of two Bath scrum-halfs in the home squad, had sparked the scoring with an unopposed 30-metre dash from a scrum in the sixth minute. And Shane Williams demonstrated his fitness after a knee injury with a triple sidestep in the preamble to Henson's try and two of his own in the space of six minutes in the third quarter.

But a yellow card for No 8 Nathan Bonner-Evans was symptomatic of an increasingly faltering Welsh performance in the latter stages, and a long overdue ninth try only arrived in the 71st minute when Jarvis followed up his own chip kick. Chris Anthony, one of the more effective Welsh forwards, prised a 10th soon after and although Jarvis, with two tries and eight conversions, passed 100 career points at A level, the lessons learned overall were few.

Wales A: G Henson (Swansea); G Wyatt (Pontypridd), M Watkins (Newport), J Pritchard (Newport), S Williams (Neath); L Jarvis (Neath), A Williams (Bath); M Madden (Llanelli), M Davies (Pontypridd, capt), C Anthony (Newport), C Billen (Ebbw Vale), N Edwards (Ebbw Vale), N Budgett (Bridgend), N Bonner-Evans (Neath), J Ringer (Bridgend) . Replacements: G Jenkins (Pontypridd) for Madden, 70; D Jones (Bridgend) for Billen, 70; G Cooper (Bath) for A Williams, 72; N Robinson (Cardiff) for Jarvis 73; W Thomas (Ebbw Vale) for Budgett, 75; B Breeze (Newport) for Wyatt, 75; G Williams (Bridgend) for Davies, 75.

Uruguay: D Reyes (Carrasco Polo); F Vilaboa (Old Christians), D Aguirre (Carrasco Polo, capt), P Vecino (Carrasco Polo), E Ibarra (Carrasco Polo); R Sierra (Old Christians), E Caffera (Champagnat); R Sanchez (Carrasco Polo), F de los Santos (Carrasco Polo), P Lemoine (Stade Français), J-C Bado (Roma), M Lamé (Carrasco Polo), B Bono (Old Boys), R Capo (Carrasco Polo), M Gutierrez (Sportiva Diretto). Replacements: O Caviglia (Old Christians) for Ibarra, 34; A Ponce de León (Carrasco Polo) for Capo, 50; S Aguirre (Carrasco Polo) for Caffera, 55; J-M Alvarez (Carrasco Polo) for Lamé, 61; J-A Perez (Old Boys) for Vecino, 69; J de Freitas (Champagnat) for Bado, 78.

Referee: S Mancini (Italy).