Gatland makes nine changes as Wales look to build on England win
Warren Gatland has rung the changes for Wales’ final World Cup warm-up match with Argentina on Saturday.
Confidence in the Welsh camp is high following a 19-9 victory over England at the Millennium Stadium last Saturday and Gatland will be looking to his new recruits to take that confidence into their World Cup opener with South Africa.
In comes Lee Byrne, Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Travis Knoyle, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Martyn Williams and Ryan Jones who will captain the side in the absence of Matthew Rees and Sam Warburton.
Warburton, Toby Faletau, Mike Phillips and Shane Williams are rested with Jonathan Davies in for the injured Henson, Bradley Davies replacing Luke Charteris, Hibbard replacing Lloyd Burns and Adam Jones replacing Craig Mitchell and Rhys Priestland missing out due to injury.
Gatland is allowing the players in his squad to shine before he whittles down his current 37-man squad to 30 for the World Cup.
Despite making nine changes it’s still a pretty strong line-up from Wales with the front row a lot stronger than the front row that started against England, and the front row remains Wales’ Achilles heel ahead of the World Cup.
The loss of captain Matthew Rees is a huge blow for Wales who are lacking strength-in-depth in the hooker department, and Gatland wil be looking for a huge performance from Hibbard who is just returning from injury.
Gethin Jenkins looks set to miss Wales’ opening game with South Africa and even when he returns, his lack of game time will be a concern for the Welsh management.
Argentina can boast a formidable pack and they will be a real test for Wales on Saturday, and Gatland knows the front row needs a lot of work if Wales are to go far in the World Cup.
However the Wales coach will be buoyed by the return of his star players and elsewhere, Wales can boast plenty of strength in depth.