Wales players backing Rob Howley crusade
WALES'S players hope they can polish up Rob Howley's coaching CV tomorrow by presenting him with his first win over a Test nation.
Standing in for Warren Gatland after the New Zealander injured himself in a fall back home in Waikato, the former scrum-half presided over a 3-0 series defeat against Australia in the summer.
He had previously overseen a success against the Barbarians, but beating Argentina in Cardiff would present Howley with his maiden triumph against a Test-playing country.
"Rob did a fine job in Australia, stepping in while Warren was away, so it would be great to get a result for him," said Matthew Rees. "Is he a good coach? Definitely. He has experience as a player and he has learned as a coach under Warren.
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"He helps make it a professional environment.
"When you have someone like that coaching you, you can only appreciate his worth."
If they are to open their autumn series with a win Wales will have to pass the traditionally stern scrummaging test posed by the Pumas, a challenge made more difficult by the absence of the injured Adam Jones.
In the Lion's place, Howley has called up his regional team-mate Aaron Jarvis.
The Exeter-born prop held his own last month against Marcos Ayerza, his opponent tomorrow, but Argentina will have noted the debutant in Wales's front row and will be sniffing blood.
Nonetheless Rees is optimistic Jarvis will give a good account of himself.
"He's taken his chance this season for the Ospreys," said Rees. "They have come up against tough opposition, including Leicester, and he's coped against strong opposition.
"That said, Ayerza is a very good player for Argentina, so it's an area we need to get right because it'll be a big part of the game.
"Argentina have a pack who are renowned for being physical and tough. We know it won't be easy, but it's important we lay the foundations for our backs."