Jones: Nothing to fear from Pumas

Mark Jones insists Wales have nothing to fear ahead of Saturday's second Test against Argentina despite facing a must-win game in Buenos Aires. [more]

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Mark Jones insists Wales have nothing to fear ahead of Saturday’s second Test against Argentina despite facing a must-win game in Buenos Aires.

Wales need to reverse last week’s loss in Patagonia if Gareth Jenkins is to avoid starting his reign with a series defeat in South America.

Wales went down 27-25 in a feisty encounter that saw three players sent to the sin bin and the second Test in the Argentinian capital promises to be just as closely fought.

But Llanelli Scarlets wing Jones, who scored the first of Wales’ three tries last week, believes the young Dragons proved they can match the Pumas’ physical approach.

He said: "This game is definitely going to go up a level from last week.

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"Both teams have had an extra week together to sort out any problems and to analyse the other so it’s going to be interesting.

"But we know what they are made of and I don’t think we have anything to fear.

"We matched them physically and made plenty of line-breaks. I was as guilty as anyone for not finishing them off but we have improved our accuracy and we know we can win.

"We came here looking to win both games and it was disappointing to lose the first. But I’m sure if we execute our game plan more accurately then there’s no reason at all why we shouldn’t get something out of the series.

"They know what we are capable of as well. We should have won last week, we certainly had the chances to get the result.

"I know international rugby is all about winning but the performance was pleasing because we have got so many new and young players who were taking their first step at this level.

"Questions had been asked of such a young and inexperienced team but those guys really put their hands up and have raised the bar for everyone."

Both teams will start at the Velez Sarsfield with new faces at inside-centre but with very different reputations.

Wales hand 20-year-old James Hook his first start at international level as reward for his try-scoring debut off the bench last week after Matthew Watkins was laid low by injury and sickness.

Argentina have vastly experienced Leinster play-maker Felipe Contepomi back in their ranks after he stayed in Dublin to sit medical exams last week, one of three changes to the side that triumphed 27-25 in Puerto Madryn.

Jones said: "He knows our players very well from the Celtic League and he will certainly bring something new to the table for Argentina.

"He’s a very talented player, not just for his kicking, and we won’t be able to take our eyes off him for a minute."

Flanker Martin Durand and Edinburgh’s Francisco Leonelli, who scored Argentina’s winning try last week, are also brought into the Pumas team.

Wales made just one other change with hooker Huw Bennett replacing Matthew Rees after Duncan Jones was given the green light to play despite spraining his thumb and Matthew Watkins and Gavin Thomas recovered from a stomach bug.

Argentina: JM Hernandez; F Leonelli, G Tiesi, F Contepomi, L Borges; F Todescini, A Pichot (capt); R Roncero, M Ledesma, M Scelzo, IF Lobbe, RA Kairelis, G Longo, JM Lobbe, M Durand. Replacements: P Gamberini, M Ayerza, M Carizza, M Scusterman, NF Miranda, F Serra.

Wales: L Byrne; M Jones, J Robinson, J Hook, S Williams; N Robinson, M Phillips; D Jones (capt), H Bennett, A Jones, I Gough, I Evans, AW Jones, A Popham, G Thomas. Replacements: R Hibbard, R Thomas, J Yapp, G Delve, A Williams, N Brew, M Watkins.

Referee: Dave Pearson (England).

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