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Rees backing young props

Matthew Rees has backed one of Wales' young props to make an impression this autumn as the RBS 6 Nations champions prepare for life without Adam Jones.

Jones will miss forthcoming appointments with Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia due to a knee injury. While interim Wales head coach Rob Howley could consider switching Bath loosehead Paul James across the scrum, it is probable that either Aaron Jarvis, Scott Andrews or Samson Lee will start against the Pumas on November 10.

"We have props who can play both sides of the scrum, with Paul James and Gethin Jenkins both able to move over, and it will be up to the coaches when it comes to selection," hooker and former Wales captain Rees said.

"But I can certainly see one of these youngsters coming through and getting to the next level over the next three or four weeks. Adam is a loss, but we have got three pretty good players there waiting in the wings at the moment, and the challenge for them now is to kick on and impress the coaches and take their chance when it comes.

"The only thing they may lack is experience at international level, but there is no better place for them to get that than in this November series when you look at the fixture list."

Wales continued their build-up to the Argentina fixture in snowy Spala on Wednesday, with Howley and his fellow coaches potentially facing a number of selection issues before naming the starting line-up

Rees, despite his leadership skills and vast experience, is by no means certain of securing a starting berth, given Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard's strong form and also the threat of his Scarlets colleague Ken Owens.

"It's great to have competition for places," Rees added. "I've got Ken at the Scarlets, and we both push each other hard, and with Richard playing well for the Ospreys we are all fighting for that jersey."

The Argentina clash will be Wales' first Test match since they lost a summer series 3-0 to Australia Down Under, although the last two defeats were by a combined total of just three points.

"We were all disappointed with how things went in Australia, but we have the opportunity now to climb that ladder again and get up the world rankings to where we feel we belong," Rees said. "We feel that we are close, within touching distance."


From Belfast Telegraph