Aaron Jarvis relishing scrum duel
AS ‘phone a friend’ options go, Adam Jones is a pretty good one ahead of a stern scrummaging test.
Before Wales and New Zealand lock horns in Cardiff the injured prop, one of the finest tightheads in world rugby, will have received a call from an Ospreys colleague.
Aaron Jarvis plans to use Jones as a sounding board ahead of a tough test against New Zealand’s Tony Woodcock, one of the finest looseheads in world rugby.
Some words of wisdom from the Abercrave sage may provide some timely reassurance for Jarvis.
The 26-year-old from Exeter made a solid international debut against Argentina but was brought back to ground with a bump against Samoa last week.
He missed a first-minute tackle that led to the visitors’ first try and then given a working over in the scrum in the final quarter.
"My confidence hasn’t been jolted at all," he said.
"It was just one of those games and every match is a tough battle in the scrum – it’s certainly going to be a good test against New Zealand. Woodcock is world class but you expect that from any player playing for the All Blacks. It’s going to be a tough battle – it should be good fun."
Tomorrow’s Millennium Stadium Test will cap quite a rise for Jarvis, who only moved to the Liberty Stadium in the summer of 2011.
"It’s been a hell of a year," he said. "I became a father for the first time in the summer and my son is five months old now.
"Then I won my first cap and now I’m playing against the All Blacks.
"It makes for an unbelievable 2012 and playing against New Zealand will put the cherry on the cake.
"I can’t wait. It’s the world champions and I’m really looking forward to getting out there.
"I’m definitely looking forward to the haka, you watch it growing up and to be on the pitch facing it will be something special.
"Every rugby player plays the sport for games like this – the chance to take the field against the best side in the world.
"No-one can take those memories away from you. I’m really looking forward to it and it should be a great experience."
* Forwards coach Robin McBryde has played down suggestions Wales’ scrum was in disarray against Samoa. The Pacific Islanders put the squeeze on their hosts, who were unable to make any impression against the imposing Johnston brothers, Census and James, who shared the tighthead duties.
"The scrum was more than competent in the first half and it wasn’t up until the 60th minute when we lost our way," said McBryde.
"There were things that we could have done better but it was just unfortunate that there was a series of three or four scrums at the game that gave people a negative perception of how the scrum went."
"It has been an area that we have worked on but we are heartened by our performance against Argentina as well as the first hour against Samoa."