Wales captain Jonathan Davies bracing team for tough test against Argentina

Jonathan Davies says Wales are fully aware of what awaits them when Argentina’s juggernaut rolls into the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

Wales have toppled Argentina in the countries’ last four meetings, and are unbeaten against them since 2012.

But the Pumas enjoyed a superb run of form when Test rugby resumed last year, claiming a first victory over New Zealand and drawing twice with Australia.

Rugby Union – Rugby World Cup 2015 – Pool C – Argentina v Tonga – King Power Stadium
Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez (Mike Egerton/PA)

Argentina’s renowned power-game has not diminished, but they also have an ability to mix and match their approach through influential half-backs Nicolas Sanchez and Tomas Cubelli.

“They like to enforce the game, bring their emotion into the game, and they have a strong kicking game as well,” Wales captain Davies said.

“So for us, it’s making sure we negate those threats, match them emotionally and make sure we don’t allow them to build momentum, because once they get the rumble on they are a tough team to bring down.

“The messages of this summer series are to compete and win games, but obviously, building for 2023 (World Cup).

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“This is an excellent challenge for everyone. Argentina have had some massive results over the last 12 months, so we are fully aware of the type of team we are going to play on Saturday.

“The standard of opposition, it’s going to be a tough game, we understand that. All I have asked the boys to do is make sure they know their roles and that they deliver on Saturday.”

Davies leads a team showing three changes made by head coach Wayne Pivac following last weekend’s 68-12 victory over Canada.

Hallam Amos replaces full-back Leigh Halfpenny, who faces surgery after suffering a knee injury during the Canada game, with wing Owen Lane in for Tom Rogers and scrum-half Kieran Hardy starting instead of Tomos Williams.

Wales also host Argentina next week, and Davies added: “We’ve worked on some of the areas that we felt need to be a lot better this weekend.

“We were pretty pleased to give opportunities to a lot of young boys to experience Test match rugby, but we are aware of the threat of Argentina. We know it is probably going to be a step up again this week, and next week as well.

“We played with tempo (against Canada), and I think that is something we are going to have to do this weekend – dictate the pace of the game and enjoy that challenge.”

Hardy, meanwhile, makes his first Test match appearance since Wales beat England five months ago on their way to the Guinness Six Nations title.

Wales v England – Guinness Six Nations – Principality Stadium
Kieran Hardy returns to the Wales starting line-up against Argentina (David Davies/PA)

He scored a try that day before suffering a serious hamstring injury, and he promises to be a key element of Wales’ victory bid this weekend alongside half-back partner Callum Sheedy.

“I’ve got a pretty good relationship with Callum,” Hardy said.

“I played with him at Jersey for a couple of years, so we know each other pretty well on and off the field.

“You’ve seen his strengths for Bristol and last weekend, which are his running game and how he puts us on the front foot.

“Hopefully, we can put in a good performance between the two of us and put the team in the right areas of the field.”