Jones expecting tough challenge

Argentina will be a whole new experience for new Wales coach Gareth Jenkins when his squad travel there next month. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Argentina will be a whole new experience for new Wales coach Gareth Jenkins when his squad travel there next month.

But a number of the party, including tour captain Duncan Jones, will be going into the South American rugby heartland with their eyes fully open.

Jenkins’ predecessor in the Welsh hot-seat, Mike Ruddock, began his 22-month reign at the helm with the same tour to Argentina two years ago.

Jones was in the starting front row for both of the Tests in June 2004, the first of which they lost 50-44 and the second which was won 35-20 in Buenos Aires.

The 27-year-old Ospreys prop said: "Home and away, Argentina are a quality side.

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"It will be a tough trip. They have a big pack but now they have a backline to go with it.

"Two years ago we toured there and their pack unsettled the youngsters we had. The scrum is an enormous part of their game but it’s the same as in any other team. Hopefully, it will bring out the best in us."

Jones will become the third skipper this year to lead Wales following Gareth Thomas, who is still injured, and vice-captain Michael Owen, who is taking a rest this summer.

The loose-head prop is hoping to bring his leadership skills, honed by captaining the Ospreys after hooker Barry Williams was sidelined for months with a back injury last January, to the fore.

He added: "You have to develop an interaction with the coaches. It’s a case of some players are not comfortable in speaking to the coaches and if they need to have a word, you can put some of their points across for them.

"Across the board in the team, you have three or four individuals who can lead as well, although there are certain key decisions you have to make. It’s a challenge but there are people who will stand up and make decisions as well.

"I’m confident that, in the whole squad, anyone selected could give Argentina a good game."

Jones is keeping his feet on the ground, admitting that just because he is the team leader now does not mean he will be picked for subsequent Tests.

"It’s the same as anything," he said. "You cannot guarantee you will be in the squad so I will be captain for this tour and then hopefully make the next squad."

Jenkins, meanwhile, is looking forward to having the raft of injured players back in his squad so that, with the youngsters blooded in this year’s RBS 6 Nations Championship, he will have headaches picking a team.

He said: "If we can get these 16 players all back by September, refreshed and physically developed, I’m going to be envied by everyone."

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