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Sunday, September 26, 1999 Published at 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK


Wales unchanged for World Cup opener

Rob Howley will captain the side again

Wales coach Graham Henry has announced an unchanged side from the team that beat France last month for their first Rugby World Cup match against Argentina.

Scrum-half Rob Howley will lead the side for the match against the Pumas at the Millennium stadium, which is also the opening game of the 1999 World Cup.

The announcement was made as the squad returned from its final training camp in Portugal.

Nine consecutive victories

Wales will be desperate to make a convincing start to the Cup at their new muli-million pound stadium, with the eyes of the World focused on a team that has the best run of consecutive wins going into the competition.

They are defending an unbroken run of nine victories and are expected to ease past group opponents Argentina, Manu Samoa and Japan.

Wales have a good record against the Pumas, having won their last three encounters - including a two-Test tour whitewash in Argentina.

However, they famously suffered a shock defeat to the Samoans at home in the 1991 World Cup, suggesting it is unlikely to be the much anticipated walkover.

The pack is also identical to the one that triumphed over reigning world champions South Africa three months ago.

Australian centre Jason Jones-Hughes has won a placeon the substitutes' bench, following a lengthy row between Wales and the Australian Rugby Union over the player's eligibility.

His chance came because in-form centre Allan Bateman is still struggling with an Achille's tendon injury that has ruled him out of the opening game.

Henry said: "Jason has looked good in training. You need utility players among the substitutes to cover all eventualities."

Team

Shane Howarth, Gareth Thomas, Mark Taylor, Scott Gibbs, Dafydd James, Neil Jenkins, Rob Howley, Peter Rogers, Garin Jenkins, David Young, Craig Quinnell, Chris Wyatt, Colin Charvis, Brett Sinkinson, Scott Quinnell.

Subs: Jason Jones-Hughes, Stephen Jones, David Llewellyn, MikeVoyle, Jonathan Humphreys, Andrew Lewis, Ben Evans.



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Rugby World Cup 1999
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