Prop Jarvis to make Wales debut
Rugby:Ospreys prop Aaron Jarvis will make his Wales debut in Saturday’s autumn Test series opener against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.
Wales’ interim head coach Rob Howley has also sprung a major surprise at scrumhalf by selecting Tavis Knoyle ahead of Lions Test number nine Mike Phillips.
Scarlets flanker Josh Turnbull wears the number six shirt with Dan Lydiate and Ryan Jones both sidelined through injury, with Gethin Jenkins packing down in the frontrow for his 91st cap alongside former Wales skipper Matthew Rees and Jarvis, who replaces an injured Adam Jones.
Injury also sidelines centre Jonathan Davies (groin), so his Scarlets colleague Scott Williams deputises and partners Jamie Roberts in midfield.
There are seven changes from Wales’ last game, a 20-19 defeat to Australia in Sydney last June, with Williams, Roberts, Knoyle, Jarvis, lock Ian Evans, Turnbull and number eight Toby Faletau all starting.
Bayonne star Phillips has to be content with a place on the bench alongside his fellow France-based back James Hook, but Ospreys centre Ashley Beck was not considered for the match-day 23 due to a hip problem.
Outhalf Rhys Priestland, meanwhile, has seen off the challenges of Hook and Ospreys’ in-form Dan Biggar to retain the playmaker role, with Howley retaining a potent back-three of Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert and George North.
Exeter-born Jarvis, who has a Welsh grandmother, has been in strong form for the Ospreys this season and he impressed the Wales coaching staff during last week’s training camp in Poland.
Secondrow Richie Gray has been named in the Scotland team for Sunday’s opening autumn Test with New Zealand, subject to undergoing a fitness test on his ankle.
Head coach Andy Robinson has named a side showing five changes from the XV which began Scotland’s last Test, the June 23rd win in Samoa.
Gray is partnered in the secondrow by Jim Hamilton, who was banned for the summer tour for an indiscretion while playing for Gloucester, with Kelly Brown returning from injury to win his 50th cap and first as captain.
Centre Nick De Luca and scrumhalf Mike Blair replace injured duo Joe Ansbro and Chris Cusiter, respectively, while Geoff Cross starts at tighthead prop in place of Euan Murray, who is not available as the All Blacks clash falls on a Sunday.
Brown replaces Richie Vernon, who was not selected in the initial squad.
Robinson admitted he will take no chances with Gray, who has not played since Sale Sharks’ Heineken Cup clash with Cardiff Blues on October 14th.
“Richie’s had really good treatment over the last couple of weeks,” said Robinson. “We knew it was a three-week injury that he had. He’s been doing light training and we’re looking at him doing a fitness test today and for him to be fine to play.”
Wales (v Argentina, Millennium Stadium, Saturday):L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets); G Jenkins (Toulon), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jarvis (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), J Turnbull (Scarlets), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements:R Hibbard (Ospreys), R Bevington (Ospreys), P James (Bath), R McCusker (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), M Phillips (Bayonne), J Hook (Perpignan), L Williams (Scarlets).
Scotland (v New Zealand, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Sunday, 14.30):S Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); S Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), N De Luca (Edinburgh), M Scott (Edinburgh), T Visser (Edinburgh); G Laidlaw (Edinburgh), M Blair (Brive); R Grant (Glasgow Warriors), R Ford (Edinburgh), G Cross (Edinburgh), R Gray (Sale Sharks), J Hamilton (Gloucester), A Strokosch (Perpignan), R Rennie (Edinburgh), K Brown (Saracens, capt).
Substitutes:S Lawson (London Irish), A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), K Traynor (Bristol), A Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), D Denton (Edinburgh), H Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), R Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), M Evans (Castres).