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Knoyle gets nod as Phillips overlooked

By Llanelli Star  |  Posted: November 07, 2012

By Dafydd Pritchard

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SCARLETS scrum-half Tavis Knoyle will start for Wales against Argentina on Saturday after Mike Phillips was surprisingly dropped to the bench.

Knoyle, who has been battling Gareth Davies for a starting berth at the Scarlets, has not featured for Wales since the defeat to Australia at the Millennium Stadium last December.

But interim Wales head coach Rob Howley suggested ex-Osprey Phillips had paid the price for missing last week's training camp in Poland because of his commitments with French club Bayonne.

"We've always said our preparation is absolutely critical for international rugby," said Howley.

"Tavis got through a huge amount of work in Poland last week."

Another notable Howley decision was to hand Scarlets back-rower Josh Turnbull his second start for Wales, coming in at blindside flanker to replace the injured Dan Lydiate and Ryan Jones.

He is joined in the pack by Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees, while there are four players from the Llanelli region in the Welsh backline.

Debutant

Rhys Priestland joins Knoyle at half-back, George North is on the left wing and Scott Williams replaces the injured Jonathan Davies at outside centre.

Davies has not recovered from a groin injury he suffered playing for the Scarlets at Clermont Auvergne last month, and he is a doubt for the Samoa Test next Friday.

The only debutant in the team is Ospreys prop Aaron Jarvis, who takes the place of his injured regional team-mate Adam Jones.

As well as the six Scarlets in the starting line-up, Howley has also included two of the region's players on the bench. Scarlets captain Rob McCusker will provide back-row cover, while full-back Liam Williams could be set for a second cap if he is called upon.

"There are obvious opportunities for the likes of Aaron (at prop), Tavis at scrum-half and Josh in the back row to pull on the jersey against Argentina and try to make it their own," said Howley.

"We all know how important a good start against the Pumas will be to our November series.

"They arrive battle-hardened after a tough Rugby Championship campaign."

Wales: L. Halfpenny; A. Cuthbert, S. Williams, J. Roberts, G. North; R. Priestland, T. Knoyle; G. Jenkins, M. Rees, A. Jarvis, A. W. Jones, I. Evans, J. Turnbull, T. Faletau, S. Warburton (capt). Reps: R. Hibbard, R. Bevington, P. James, R. McCusker, J. Tipuric, M. Phillips, J. Hook, L. Williams.

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