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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 June 2006, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Jenkins puts faith in young duo
Wales coach Gareth Jenkins
Gareth Jenkins says he has a plan to combat the Pumas pack

Raul Conti Stadium, Puerto Madryn
Sunday, 11 June
Kick-off: 1840 BST
Live on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and this website

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins says Ospreys pair Ian Evans and Alun Wyn Jones will rise to the challenge against Argentina in Sunday's first Test.

Both youngsters will make their Wales debuts in Puerto Madryn's Raul Conti Stadium, with Evans, 21, packing down at lock and Wyn Jones, 20, at flanker.

"We're proud to give the honour of a first Wales cap to Ian and Alun who are picked on merit," Jenkins said.

"The key selection decisions were in the forwards and they will do a job."

Evans makes his debut partnering the most senior player in the team, 30-year-old Ian Gough in the second row, with regional colleague Wyn Jones joining a back row consisting of Llanelli Scarlets pair Gavin Thomas and Alix Popham.

Wyn Jones has only played in the back-row once this season for the Ospreys, but the extra bulk the 17-stone player brings to the blindside should help to offset the powerful Pumas pack.

Argentina are pretty predictable in the way they actually play

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins

"Ian Gough as a senior player in the squad will be important against a tough and physical Argentina and he boosts our lineout options, as does the selection of Ian Evans and, significantly, Alun Wyn in the back row," Jenkins said.

"Alun has played at flanker before and has been performing well for us there in training all week, but, importantly, he is a top-class line-out forward."

Wales' task on Sunday will start at the scrum, primarily in the front row, where Wales captain Duncan Jones will literally have to lead from the front.

Jones and Ospreys prop partner Adam Jones line up either side of Scarlets rookie hooker Matthew Rees, winning just his second cap.

"We've gone for Matthew at hooker in order to have a good look at him in this environment and have told Huw (Bennett) that he will be involved for Test two," Jenkins added.

Jenkins knows exactly how Argentina will play, but also knows that actually stopping the Pumas and their formidable forwards will be a different matter.

"They have got a forward mentality, but they score a lot of points as a team and score a lot of tries as a back line off that forward plan," Jenkins said.

"We are in the process of identifying a game plan to play against them."

Argentina are without some of their France-based players as Biarritz and Toulouse are still involved in the French Championship final this weekend.

Leinster fly-half Felipe Contepomi is also absent as he is sitting medical exams.

But the Pumas can still boast the likes of Stade Francais trio Agustin Pichot, Juan Martin Hernandez and Rodrigo Roncero, plus Perpignan's Rimas Alvarez.

Argentina should be at full strength for the second Test in Buenos Aires on Saturday, 17 June.

"We have looked at Argentina over their last five or six games and their selection does change," Jenkins added.

"But their habits don't change much. They are pretty predictable in the way they actually play.

"We have anticipated their style of play and their strengths and weaknesses.

"One of the stats that was interesting was that out of their last 48 line-outs only two were played off the top. All the rest were driven."


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