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Wales confess to a 'busy and quite emotional' Monday

By PA
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Gethin Jenkins has said there is no point in Wales feeling sorry for themselves after a drubbing from New Zealand piled on the pressure in their Autumn Nations Series campaign. Argentina are next up at the Principality Stadium – Georgia and Australia follow later this month – with Jenkins confirming that full-back Leigh Halfpenny (hamstring) and flanker Tommy Reffell (ribs) have been ruled out of Saturday’s clash through injury.

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The Pumas beat Wales comfortably in Cardiff 16 months ago and they have entered a victory over England at Twickenham to this year’s results portfolio, which also includes an away win against the All Blacks. Wales shipped 55 points to the All Blacks – the most they have conceded during 138 years of Test rugby in the Welsh capital – with that haul including eight tries.

“We were very disappointed as a whole group, staff and management,” said Jenkins, Wales’ assistant coach and defence specialist. “We had a busy and quite emotional day on Monday picking the game apart to find out where we can get better. There were a lot of honest conversations around. There is no point in us feeling sorry for ourselves.

“In terms of the defence, they got into our 22 and scored seven tries. There is a lot of frustration, but we have got another big Test match at the weekend and we just need to get better. I didn’t believe any of the stuff about the All Blacks losing their aura because they had lost a few games. They are still a great team.

“We knew pretty much what was coming in terms of their power game, their pick and go and their forward carriers. They didn’t surprise us – we just couldn’t match that. I am not hiding away from that, and neither are the players.”

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Halfpenny was selected to start the series-opening appointment with New Zealand, but he aggravated a hamstring problem and was officially withdrawn just over an hour before kick-off. Jenkins added: “Leigh is not going to be available this week, and Tommy won’t be available. They are the only two, I think, at the moment that are fully ruled out for the weekend.”

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Gareth Anscombe was switched from fly-half to full-back as Halfpenny’s replacement against the All Blacks, with Rhys Priestland starting in the number 10 shirt. Wales head coach Wayne Pivac could go down the same route against Argentina, although he should have another option with the versatile Josh Adams now back in full training after a hand injury.

Wales captain Justin Tipuric looks set to move across the back row from blindside to openside, with potentially Dan Lydiate or Exeter’s Christ Tshiunza at number six. On the challenge posed by Argentina to Wales, Jenkins said: “They hardly touched the ball against England, yet still came away with a win. That shows the quality they have got.

“It is going to be a very similar game to the ones we had with South Africa in the summer. They are comfortable at getting up and making physical tackles, and they looked like they were comfortable on Sunday against England in terms of defending what England threw at them. People hold on in the back of their minds to the fact that we used to beat them regularly. They have improved no end.

“They had a bit of a lull before they lost their last coach, but this new coaching team has got them firing and they’ve brought through younger players who are excelling at that level. They have got dangerous backs and we are under no illusions how well they did in the Rugby Championship and what they will bring on Saturday.”

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