Wales tour of the Americas – Players to watch

Paul Eddison
06 June 2018

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Wales made the perfect start to their summer tour with victory over South Africa in Washington and the tour continues now with two Tests against Argentina.

With a number of big names rested, Cardiff Blues scrum-half Tomos Williams was the hero of the hour on debut with his match-winning try against the Springboks.

And with Warren Gatland having made eight changes to his team for the second Test, it’s a new-look side that will be led by Cory Hill.

With that in mind, we have picked out four players who could make a big impression, one from each region, in the series against Los Pumas.

Elliot Dee – Dragons

With Ken Owens rested, Elliot Dee was always likely to get an extended run on this tour, and the Dragons hooker will start his second successive match against Argentina.

The 24-year-old earned his first cap last November against Georgia, and was Owens’ back-up throughout the Six Nations.

Elliot Dee
Inpho

A dynamic player around the field, he will be keen to cement his place in the Welsh matchday squad going forward, and put the pressure on Owens for the starting role.

In terms of challenges, Argentina, and skipper Agustin Creevy should provide Dee a great opportunity to measure himself against one of the world’s best.

Dillon Lewis – Cardiff Blues

With Samson Lee struggling with a back injury, Dillon Lewis will continue at tighthead against Argentina, a year after making his Test debut against Samoa.

The young tighthead made 16 appearances for the Blues this season, including ten in the Guinness PRO14.

Inpho

At 22, he is still very young for a prop, but Gatland has clearly been impressed by the youngster who lasted 52 minutes against the Boks and Cheetahs loosehead Ox Nché.

Like Dee, he will face a huge challenge against Los Pumas on their own patch, but his ability around the park should help the expansive game Wales are looking to play.

Adam Beard – Ospreys

Still only 22 years old, Adam Beard has quickly started to fulfil the potential that saw him lead Wales at Under-20s level.

Capped for the first time last summer, the second row has been able to garner experience from teammate Alun Wyn Jones, Wales’ most capped lock of all time.

Inpho

A regular for the Ospreys this season, either starting or coming off the bench, Beard does not lack for size and will be a valuable option for Dee in the lineout.

Argentina have a number of promising young locks at their disposal, including Marcos Kremer, who is a year younger than Beard, so it will be a tough test for the Ospreys youngster.

Rhys Patchell – Scarlets

Recovered from the disappointment of missing out in the final of the Guinness PRO14, Scarlets’ Rhys Patchell gets the nod at fly-half this weekend.

The Scarlets playmaker is capable of playing at ten or full-back and started the Six Nations in the fly-half jersey.

Originally a product of the Cardiff Blues academy, he has flourished at Parc y Scarlets and was a key man in the Guinness PRO14 semi-final victory over Glasgow Warriors.

A gifted distributor, he also has the size and carrying ability to pose a real threat with ball in hand and keep defences guessing.

Gareth Anscombe is waiting on the bench, so there is plenty of competition, but Patchell has shown just why he was so highly-rated coming through the ranks.

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