Allen starts for Wales as Jenkins reaches milestone

Blues prop Gethin Jenkins will become the joint fourth most capped Wales player when he makes his 100th appearance on Saturday Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Cardiff Blues centre Cory Allen has been handed his first international start by Wales coach Warren Gatland ahead of Saturday's Autumn international meeting with Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.

Allen fills the gap left by Jonathan Davies, who faces up to four months on the sidelines after rupturing a chest muscle during last weekend's 15-24 defeat to South Africa.

Saturday's clash will also see Blues prop Gethin Jenkins become the joint fourth most capped Wales player when he makes his 100th appearance equalling the number of caps held by Martyn Williams (100) and Gareth Thomas (100) and four behind Stephen Jones (104).

Gatland has made four changes to his starting fifteen in total as he looks to patch up his injury-ravaged squad.

Scarlets prop Rhodri Jones has been named as replacement for another South Africa casualty, Adam Jones, while Dan Lydiate's absence with an ankle problem means Justin Tipuric comes into the back row at openside flanker, resulting in captain Sam Warburton moving across to the blindside.

There has been further change at half back also, with Dan Biggar this time preferred to Rhys Priestland, who started last week's series opener. Priestland does not feature anywhere in the matchday party, with James Hook preferred as the substitute fly half.

The back three that started against South Africa of George North, Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams remains the same after the latter shook-off the head injury, which saw him exit last week's game prematurely.

Uncapped Scarlets prop Samson Lee is named in a Wales match-day squad for the first time. He starts on the bench alongside fellow front-rows Ken Owens and Paul James while Luke Charteris and Ryan Jones complete the forward substitutes. Lloyd Williams, James Hook and Ashley Beck provide cover in the back line.

“Last weekend will stand us in good stead in terms of physicality and intensity as Saturday will be a huge battle against Argentina,” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.

“They will be looking for a repeat of last year and we will need to be more clinical to get the result we are aiming for.

“We have been working hard to ensure we convert the chances we create and encourage the players to look for and exploit opportunities and space.

“Saturday will be a huge occasion for Gethin and a fantastic milestone.

“We have made a number of changes due to injury but it’s a great opportunity for players we have been very impressed with. For Cory it will be his first taste of international rugby and for Rhodri a chance to gain more experience. Justin played very well off the bench last weekend and Dan’s injury gives him the chance to start the game.

“At fly-half it was always our intention to give Dan and Rhys one game each at the start of the series and it’s Dan chance this weekend.”

WALES TEAM v ARGENTINA:

Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Cory Allen (Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Unattached), Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Blues – CAPT), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Toby Faletau (Dragons).

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Paul James (Bath), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Blues), James Hook (Perpignan), Ashley Beck (Ospreys).