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Gatland warns players of 'step up' against Argentina


Gatland warns players of 'step up' against Argentina

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has warned his players of a step-up in intensity as they head to Argentina to play a full-strength side next week.

Wales escaped Washington D.C. with a dramatic 22-20 win against South Africa, though their opponents were without a handful of regulars.

Gatland said the neutral ground fixture was an ideal warm-up for his untested players.

“Who would want to be a coach?” Gatland said. “The end was dramatic and maybe our game management could have been better, but I thought we played well in the first half.”

“The young guys will take a lot from this and there will be a lot of learning from them moving forwards. I thought captain Ellis Jenkins was outstanding and so was Tomos Williams.

“There are a couple of things to work on, but we are looking forward to going to Argentina now which will be a big step up for us.

“The heat out there was something we’ll experience in Japan at the World Cup next year and that will be a big benefit to us moving forwards.”

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Jenkins was named man-of-the-match in his first fixture as captain while 23-year-old Williams scored a try on debut.

Jenkins said afterwards “the guys showed great determination to see out the game and the main positive is the caps and experience some of our younger guys got from the match.

“It’s a Test match and the atmosphere was very good. Everything we’ve heard surrounding this game was very positive and we’re really pleased to get the result.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news for the Welshmen as winger Steff Evans went down with a potentially tour-ending injury.

Evans left on crutches after going down with a knee injury in the first half.

“It was a hyperextension of the knee,” Gatland confirmed.

“He is on crutches at the moment hobbling around, so we will need to get him scanned because it doesn’t look brilliant at the moment.”

Wales are currently without Lions outside backs Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams, while Worcester wing Josh Adams was unavailable for the South Africa match as it was scheduled outside World Rugby’s June international window.

Adams’ replacement Ashton Hewitt was also ruled out earlier in the week after he suffered a shoulder injury in training.

Wales will regroup and head to San Juan as they prepare for their first of two tests against Argentina.

The first test kicks off on June 9th and will be hosted at Estadio San Juan Del Bicentenario.

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Gatland warns players of 'step up' against Argentina
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