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Preview: Hardy keen to last the course as Wales prepare for Argentina test 

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Preview: Hardy keen to last the course as Wales prepare for Argentina test 

Kieran Hardy Wales

Kieran Hardy is eager to banish painful memories of his previous appearance at Principality Stadium when he starts at scrum-half for Wales against Argentina on Saturday.

Having beaten Canada 68-12 in Cardiff a week ago, Wayne Pivac has made three changes to his starting XV – Hallam Amos in at full-back for the injured Leigh Halfpenny, Owen Lane replacing Tom Rogers on the wing and Hardy selected ahead of Tomos Williams as No.9.

The last of Hardy’s four Wales caps came in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, when they beat old enemies England 40-24 to seal the Triple Crown.

But the scrum-half was forced off through injury late on, causing him to miss the win over Italy and Round 5 defeat to France as he watched his compatriots go on to lift the Championship title.

So, Saturday’s game against Argentina – live on S4C with kick-off at 1pm – is a chance to put things right.

“It’s good to be back,” admitted Hardy on the official WRU website. “The last time I started here it ended with an injury and I couldn’t play a bigger part in the end of the Six Nations.

“It’s great to be back and to be given the opportunity to wear the nine shirt this weekend.

“It will definitely be a different challenge to last weekend [against Canada] and a real Test match

“They’re a very physical team who have got some good results in the last couple of months. They’ll be pretty happy with that but the boys are relishing the challenge.

“They’ll be physical and have a good kicking game. It will be a big opportunity for us, particularly in the counter-attack, and we’ve got to match them physically as well.”

Ten-try Wales impress against Canada

Argentina are also heading into the game off the back of a win over a second-tier nation, albeit a less convincing one as they edged past Romania 24-17 a week ago.

But Los Pumas are a talented, hard-nosed outfit under head coach Mario Ledesma and Pivac is relishing the challenge they’ll pose at Principality Stadium.

“Argentina provide the perfect opponents for us this weekend and are the exact test we want for this group of players,” said Pivac.

“We will be tested up front and the physicality will be at a level that some of these players have not experienced before but that will answer a lot of questions for us.

“It’s great to play in Cardiff once again and we want to play an exciting brand of rugby, which will have supporters up off their feet. It promises to be a great occasion.”

TEAMS 

Wales: 15 Hallam Amos (Cardiff Rugby) (23 caps), 14 Jonah Holmes (Dragons) (6 caps), 13 Uilisi Halaholo (Cardiff Rugby) (5 caps), 12 Jonathan Davies (CAPT) (Scarlets) (89 caps), 11 Owen Lane (Cardiff Rugby) (2 caps), 10 Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears) (10 caps), 9 Kieran Hardy (Scarlets) (5 caps); 1.Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (40 caps), 2 Elliot Dee (Dragons) (38 caps), 3 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby) (29 caps), 4 Ben Carter (Dragons) (1 cap), 5 Will Rowlands (Dragons) (8 caps), 6 Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (46 caps), 7 James Botham (Cardiff Rugby) (7 caps), 8 Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (30 caps)
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (18 caps)17 Gareth Thomas (Ospreys) (1 cap)18 Leon Brown (Dragons) (18 caps), 19 Josh Turnbull (Cardiff Rugby) (11 caps), 20 Taine Basham (Dragons) (1 cap), 21 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby) (23 caps), 22 Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Rugby) (6 caps), 23 Nick Tompkins (Saracens) (11 caps)

Argentina: 15. Juan Cruz Mallía, 14. Santiago Carreras, 13. Matías Moroni, 12. Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11. Santiago Cordero, 10. Nicolás Sánchez, 9. Tomás Cubelli; 1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2. Julián Montoya (captain), 3. Francisco Gómez Kodela; 4. Guido Petti, 5. Marcos Kremer; 6. Pablo Matera, 7. Facundo Isa, 8. Rodrigo Brun
Replacements: 16. Facundo Bosch, 17. Facundo Gigena, 18. Santiago Medrano, 19. Tomás Lavanini, 20. Matías Alemanno, 21. Gonzalo Bertranou, 22. Domingo Miotti y 23. Santiago Chocobares.