Jarvis set to make Wales debut against Pumas
CARDIFF (AFP) –
Ospreys prop Aaron Jarvis is set to make his Wales debut against renowned scrummagers Argentina at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Saturday after replacing injured set-piece anchorman Adam Jones.
Wales interim head coach Rob Howley, in charge now Warren Gatland is overseeing the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia, also sprung a surprise by selecting Tavis Knoyle at scrum-half instead of Mike Phillips.
However, Phillips, whose career has been blighted by several unsavoury incidents away from the game, was suspended by French club Bayonne earlier this season for his “intolerable behaviour off the pitch”.
In the back-row Josh Turnbull starts at blindside flanker in the absence through injury of both Dan Lydiate and Ryan Jones.
Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies has also been sidelined, so club colleague Scott Williams partners Jamie Roberts in midfield.
There are seven changes to the team that kicked-off Wales’s last match, a 20-19 defeat by Australia in Sydney in June, with Williams, Roberts, Knoyle, No 8 Toby Faletau, Turnbull, lock Ian Evans and Jarvis all starting.
The 26-year-old Jarvis was born in Exeter, south-west England but qualifies for Wales through a Welsh grandmother.
He has starred for the Ospreys this season and impressed the Six Nations‘ champions coaches during last week’s training camp in Poland.
“One or two injuries have forced our hands in certain areas in terms of selection,” said former Wales and Lions scrum-half Howley.
“But the fact that we are still able to field a side packed with Grand Slam experience shows that we have been able to develop some depth in recent years.
“There are obvious opportunities for the likes of Aaron, Tavis and Josh to pull on the jersey against Argentina and try to make it their own.
“We all know how important a good start against the Pumas will be to our November series.
“They will be looking to silence the Millennium Stadium crowd from the outset and we know we can’t afford to let that happen, with a successful campaign this autumn vital to our ambitions for the future.”
Argentina were due to name their side later Tuesday.
Saturday’s match is the opening Welsh fixture of a European autumn series that also sees Howley’s men at home to Samoa, world champions New Zealand and Australia.
Wales are currently sixth in the International Rugby Board’s world rankings but need to move up to fourth if they are to be one of the top seeds in next month’s draw for the 2015 World Cup in England.
Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, George North; Rhys Priestland, Tavis Knoyle; Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton (capt), Josh Turnbull; Ian Evans, Alun-Wyn Jones; Aaron Jarvis, Matthew Rees, Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Ryan Bevington, Paul James, Rob McCusker, Justin Tipuric, Mike Phillips, James Hook, Liam Williams