Wales make five changes for second Argentina Test

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Wales coach Warren Gatland has made five changes for the second Test with Argentina in Santa Fe on Saturday with Cory Hill again leading the side.

Tour co-captain Ellis Jenkins returns in the back-row but is picked at blindside flanker with James Davies keeping the openside jersey.

There are first tour starts for hooker Ryan Elias, tighthead Tomas Francis and scrum-half Aled Davies.

The only enforced change is Owen Watkin replacing the injured Hadleigh Parkes.

The Scarlets centre injured his finger during Wales’ 23-10 first Test victory in San Juan.

“We said we wanted to involve everyone and give them a chance to at least be a part of the 23,” Gatland said.

“We wanted to make some changes but we also needed to try and keep some continuity from week one, instead of making wholesale changes.”

Two openside flankers


Wales have picked two specialist opensides in the backrow with Davies and Jenkins lining up alongside number eight Ross Moriarty.

Jenkins starred in the 22-20 victory over South Africa in Washington on June 2 picking up the man-of-the-match award while Davies was handed that accolade a week later in the win over the Pumas.

“It was pretty hard to leave either of them out, given that they’ve both produced man-of-the-match performances in their first two games,” said Gatland.

“It’s something that we’ve done in the past. To be able to play two sevens, you’ve got to have your tight five performing well and we’re pretty happy with our tight five but we’ve made a couple of changes there.

“That tight five need to front up to allow us the luxury of having both of them in the starting line-up.

“The way they’re both playing, we’ll just have to see how they go against Argentina on Saturday.

“We were very good at the breakdown, defensively we were really strong but it’s going to be another step up this week.”

Hill again picked as captain

Cory Hill in training<!–

Blues flanker Jenkins captained the side against the Springboks while Hill was given leadership duties against the Pumas last week and Gatland has again handed the Dragons lock the captaincy.

With Jenkins playing in his less familiar position of blindside flanker Gatland feels Hill was better equipped to lead the team in Santa Fe.

“It was an easy choice really,” said Gatland.

“Ellis had done a really good job but the fact we’re asking him to play six means he’s got enough on his plate.

“It also keeps that bit of continuity with Cory doing the job again.

“Both of them have been great on this tour and we just felt, after last week, that we’d keep that continuity.”

Parkes to have surgery

Hadleigh Parkes fights off tackles<!–

Ospreys centre Watkin comes in to win a sixth cap in the absence of Hadleigh Parkes who will need surgery on a broken finger.

The Scarlets player picked up a compound fracture just four minutes into the Test victory in San Juan but played on for the full 80 minutes.

“He’s had that cleaned out and he’ll be seeing a surgeon when he goes back to New Zealand,” said Gatland. “He’ll have a hand specialist to look at that.

“That’s something that will probably keep him out for about six weeks or something like that.

“It’s a shame for him because we thought he was very good against Argentina.

“He defended well and his communication and chat in the midfield was excellent.

“It’s another opportunity for Owen to step in there, keep improving and keep developing.”

Samson Lee heading home

Samson Lee<!–

Meanwhile Scarlets tighthead Samson Lee has returned to Wales for treatment to a lower back injury.

The 25-year-old failed to take any part in full training during his time on tour due to the problem he picked up in Scarlets Pro14 final defeat to Leinster last month.

“He needs to see someone when he gets back to Wales in terms of sorting that out,” Gatland said.

“It’s just irritable really and it’s stopped him being able to take a full part in training. We want to see him get back fit and training.

“He knows how important the next few months are going to be in terms of getting himself ready for the start of the season but for the November campaign too,” added Gatland.

Wales: Hallam Amos; Josh Adams, Scott Williams, Owen Watkin, George North; Rhys Patchell, Aled Davies; Rob Evans, Ryan Elias, Thomas Francis, Adam Beard, Cory Hill (capt), Ellis Jenkins, James Davies, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Elliott Dee, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Bradley Davies, Josh Turnbull, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Tom Prydie.

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