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Jenkins set for century

Thu, 14 Nov 2013 13:38
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Saturday will be a huge occasion for Gethin
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Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins will win his 100th cap for Wales on Saturday in a side to face Argentina which includes uncapped centre Cory Allen and four personnel changes.

Jenkins will become only the fourth Welsh player to reach the milestone (Stephen Jones - 104, Martyn Williams - 100, Gareth Thomas - 100) and he will feature alongside his regional teammate Allen to take on the Pumas.

The 20-year-old, who featured for the Wales Under-20 and Sevens sides in 2012/13, replaces the injured Jonathan Davies in the midfield.

Jenkins will face Argentina for the sixth time this weekend and will feature in the front row alongside Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard and Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), who replaces the injured Adam Jones.

The Scarlets prop made his debut for Wales against the Barbarians last years and featured on the tour to Japan. He will earn his third Test cap at the Millennium Stadium.

Bradley Davies (Blues) and Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) continue their partnership in the second row.

In the back row Ospreys flank Justin Tipuric comes into the side for the injured Dan Lydiate. Lydiate injured his ankle in the defeat to the Springboks and has been ruled out of the second tie.

Tipuric will play at openside flank with captain Sam Warburton (Blues) switching to blindside. The duo are joined by Toby Faletau (Dragons), reuniting the back row which faced England in the final Six Nations game earlier this year and which saw Wales retain the championship in dramatic style at the Millennium Stadium.

The 78-times capped Mike Phillips (unattached) and Dan Biggar (Ospreys) who started all five of Wales' Six Nations games together in 2013 are named as the halfback pairing. Scarlets centre Scott Williams lines up alongside debutant Allen in midfield.

The back three is the same that started the game against South Africa last time out with George North (Northampton Saints) and Liam Williams (Scarlets) on the wing and Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), who passed the 300-point haul for Wales last weekend, at fullback.

"Last weekend will stand us in good stead in terms of physicality and intensity as Saturday will be a huge battle against Argentina," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"They will be looking for a repeat of last year and we will need to be more clinical to get the result we are aiming for.

"We have been working hard to ensure we convert the chances we create and encourage the players to look for and exploit opportunities and space.

"Saturday will be a huge occasion for Gethin [Jenkins] and a fantastic milestone.

"We have made a number of changes due to injury but it's a great opportunity for players we have been very impressed with. For Cory [Allen] it will be his first taste of international rugby and for Rhodri [Jones] a chance to gain more experience. Justin [Tipuric] played very well off the bench last weekend and Dan's injury gives him the chance to start the game.

"At flyhalf it was always our intention to give Dan [Biggar] and Rhys [Priestland] one game each at the start of the series and it's Dan’s chance this weekend."

Uncapped Scarlets prop Samson Lee is named in a Wales matchday squad for the first time and takes his place alongside fellow front row replacements, hooker, Ken Owens (Scarlets) and prop Paul James (Bath).

The bench also features Perpignan second row Luke Charteris and the experienced, 73-times capped, Ryan Jones (Ospreys). Lloyd Williams (Blues), James Hook (Perpignan) and Ashley Beck (Ospreys), who all featured from the bench last weekend, are also named in the 23.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Warburton (captain), 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Rhodri Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Ryan Jones, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Ashley Beck.

Date: Saturday, November 16
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT; 11.30, Saturday, November 16 Arg time)
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

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