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Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Rees on firm ground against Pumas

Autumn internationals - Wales v Argentina
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 21 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT
Coverage: Exclusively live on BBC ONE Wales and online, full commentary on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and online, live text commentary online and score updates on BBC Radio 5 Live

Matthew Rees in action against the All Blacks
The Millennium Stadium pitch cut up badly in the first Test with New Zealand

Wales hooker Matthew Rees has welcomed the decision to replace the Millennium Stadium pitch before Saturday's match against Argentina in Cardiff.

A fly infestation weakened the grass roots and the pitch did not wear well in games with New Zealand and Samoa.

A firm footing will be crucial with the Pumas fielding a hard-scrummaging pack.

"It's been embarrassing the last two games really, the pitch chewing up as much as it has been, so hopefully this weekend it'll be fixed," Rees said.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has kept faith with Paul James at tight-head prop, the Ospreys loose-head acquitting himself well in the unfamiliar number three jersey.

Rees, James and Gethin Jenkins are tasked with holding their own against one of world rugby's most established and formidable front rows in Argentina's Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma and Martin Scelzo.

"It is new for Paul but what better opportunity to stake his claim by playing against one of the best scrummaging sides in the world and I think he's looking forward to the challenge as well," Rees said.

"The [Pumas] front row, they've played together for a number of years now and it's great to play against them again.

Gatland tells Wales to 'get smart'

"We know it's going to be a physical game again, it's going to be tough up front.

"They've been known for their scrummaging, Argentina, obviously a lot of them are France-based and spend a lot of time scrummaging.

"So it's something they'll probably come at us with and we need to be ready for that."

Despite missing players of the calibre of Felipe Contepomi, Juan Martin Hernandez and Juan Manuel Leguizamon through injury, Argentina only lost 16-9 to England last weekend thanks to Matt Banahan's late try.

"From the game at the weekend against England they were unlucky to come away with a loss," Rees said.

"It's going to be a difficult challenge for us on the weekend but something we are looking forward to.

"No matter who's playing for Argentina they're going to be a formidable side anyway.

"We need to take one game at a time now, we know how important this game is to us.

"Obviously playing Argentina at home is going to be huge."

Wales: James Hook (Ospreys); Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts (both Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Gareth Cooper; Gethin Jenkins (both Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Paul James, Alun Wyn Jones (both Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), Andy Powell, Martyn Williams (both Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt).
Replacements: Huw Bennett, Duncan Jones (both Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Dan Lydiate (Dragons), Dwayne Peel (Sale), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), Tom James (Blues).

Argentina: tbc

Referee: George Clancy (Ire)

Assistant referees: Christophe Berdos (Fr), David Changleng (Sco)

Television match official: Jim Yuille (Sco)

Assessor: Michel Lamoulie (Fr)

Argentina ready for Wales challenge

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see also
Wales 33-16 Argentina
21 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Wales v Argentina scrum war brews
20 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Contaminated pitch to be replaced
13 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Shanklin out of Argentina clash
16 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Wales holding fire on young guns
15 Nov 09 |  Welsh
England 16-9 Argentina
14 Nov 09 |  English
Wales 17-13 Samoa
13 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Wales 12-19 New Zealand
07 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Puma power: Argentinian rugby
16 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales v Argentina: Full record
28 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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