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Wales count cost of bruising defeat

Battered and bruised RBS 6 Nations champions Wales will regroup on Monday after summoning four reinforcements as training cover ahead of next weekend's clash against Argentina.

Coach Warren Gatland has called up Scarlets props Samson Lee and Rhodri Jones, together with Newport Gwent Dragons backs Tom Prydie and Hallam Amos.

It follows a punishing appointment with Rugby Championship runners-up South Africa when Gatland saw four players - centre Jonathan Davies, prop Adam Jones, wing Liam Williams and substitute prop Scott Andrews - suffer first-half injuries.

Scarlets star Davies suffered a damaged pectoral muscle that forced him off inside 15 minutes of the Millennium Stadium clash.

Gatland has already confirmed the British and Irish Lion will miss Wales' remaining autumn games against Argentina, Tonga and Australia, but if he requires surgery then Davies could also sit out this season's Six Nations.

Jones, meanwhile, left the ground on crutches due to a calf muscle problem, while Williams suffered a head injury, but Andrews appears to be okay following initial reports of a neck problem.

Speaking after the game, Gatland said: "The injuries are relatively serious.

"Adam Jones is a calf strain, Jonathan Davies is a pectoral muscle which will keep him out for the rest of the campaign, Liam Williams has had a bump to the head and will be assessed. Scott Andrews is okay.

"He (Davies) was a big loss to us in the first-half. He had made a couple of breaks and been strong on his feet.

"He is very disappointed. We've spoken to the physio and he said it could settle by the back end of December, but if he needs an operation it could be five months and means he misses the Six Nations as well."

Gatland, meanwhile, wasted no time adding players to his training group.

Wales Under-20's cap Lee has worked with the national squad before, as has his regional colleague Rhodri Jones, who has two caps to his name.

Amos is uncapped but has made a good start to the season with the Dragons, while Prydie, Wales' youngest international having made his debut aged 18 years and 25 days in 2010, featured on the summer tour of Japan.

Ospreys wing Eli Walker, who missed out on a Test debut against the Springboks due to a hamstring problem, and Cardiff Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell (shoulder) have returned to their regions for further treatment.

Reflecting on the 24-15 Springboks defeat, Wales' outstanding forward Richard Hibbard underlined the Test's physical ferocity.

"It was brutal from start to finish. South Africa were aggressive in both attack and defence," Hibbard said.

"I think the boys stuck to it well and we went toe to toe, but they won in the end. It was frustrating. We went into the game sure we could win it.

"We focused on the win all week and a few things went wrong and we know what South Africa are like. They've just come off beating good teams in the Rugby Championship, and they got on top in the end."

"We prepared all week and then we lost three players from the pitch. It's tough for the boys coming into positions where they haven't practised.

"But I think they did really well. We will certainly take a lot of positives out of this game. Our scrum and set-piece went well and I think the physicality of the boys was great.

"If we keep that intensity up we can set a target of three out of four wins."


From Belfast Telegraph