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Wales will have to fight every step of way, says new skipper

Well prepared: Cory Hill
Well prepared: Cory Hill

By Alex Williams

Wales captain Cory Hill admits his team are in for a tough challenge amid the raucous atmosphere of San Juan when they face Argentina in tonight's first Test.

Warren Gatland's side are looking to build on their 22-20 victory over South Africa in Washington DC, with their head coach making eight changes for the meeting with the Pumas.

Argentina are yet to play together in 2018, but they should not lack cohesion as their entire matchday squad belong to their domestic franchise Jaguares.

The Jaguares are flying high in Super Rugby and Dragons lock Hill, who will skipper his country for the first time at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, has warned of the challenge ahead.

"It's going to be really physical and a proud moment for myself to lead the team, there are too many people to thank for me getting here," Hill said.

"We're really looking forward to getting out there. It's a great venue, an old-school football stadium with barbed wire around the ground and we know we're going to have to step up as a forward unit.

"I'm sure the crowd are going to be on our backs from the first minute and we need to make sure we provide a platform for the backs.

"We have plenty of experience behind the scrum and that's great."

Wales were forced into a late change on the eve of the game, with loosehead prop Wyn Jones pulling out due to a calf injury suffered in training.

He has been forced to fly home to seek treatment for the problem, with Rob Evans taking over his starting spot and Nicky Smith replacing Evans on the bench.

Elsewhere, Worcester wing Josh Adams starts after being dropped from the game with South Africa due to Premiership Rugby refusing to release its England-based stars for that out-of-window Test.

Adams is partnered out wide by George North, who returns to his usual wing position with Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams in the centre.

Hill is alongside Adam Beard at lock with Scarlets prop Evans coming into the front row alongside inexperienced hooker Elliot Dee and tighthead prop Dillon Lewis.

Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade has handed Jaguares wing Bautista Delguy his international debut. Hooker Agustin Creevy is captain and Nicolas Sanchez will lead the back line.

"Wales are one of the best teams in the world and I don't think there's much to separate between the northern and southern hemisphere," Hourcade said.

"We expect a first level Wales and to beat them we will have to concentrate for the whole 80 minutes."

Belfast Telegraph


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