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Rugby Union: Jones: Why l'll thumb it to Buenos Aires Test.

Byline: By ANDY HOWELL

DUNCAN JONES last night insisted he is winning his fitness fight to lead Wales into Saturday's potentially explosive second Test with Argentina.

X-rays have revealed that the prop had sprained, not broken, his right thumb during a stormy opening rubber with Argentina last Sunday.

"It was painful at the time," admitted Wales' new captain. "It was the thumb I broke 18 months ago against Munster and I feared I might have done the same injury.

"But, fair play to the Argentine Rugby Union and the doctors, they took me straight to hospital for a couple of X-rays which, thankfully, came back positive.

"They are treating it as a ligament injury and I'm looking forward to getting fit for this weekend.

"The thought of not being available for the second Test was more disappointing than the pain.

"It's one of those things - it's improved a lot over the past 48 hours.

"If it keeps improving, it should be okay for the weekend. The treatment I am getting is great so I think I will be taking a full part in training - sooner than later."

Wales had flanker Gavin Thomas and No.8 Alix Popham sin-binned in the 27-25 first Test defeat in Puerto Madryn.

But Jones isn't concerned by Argentine threats to resort to violence - if Wales continue with their alleged spoiling tactics at the breakdown.

"We are under no illusions. If they did under-estimate us for the first Test, they are going to be looking for us in the second. We just have to be ready to meet them head-on," he said.

Even though Wales conceded 13 crucial points when back-rowers Thomas and Popham were in the sin-bin for technical infringements, Jones was quick not to blame them for the narrow defeat.

"You can't point the finger at those players.

"They made decisions which, at the time, they thought were correct," said the Ospreys star.

"I don't think we need to talk to people. We are all professional about it."

Jones is convinced Wales can square the series with victory over Argentina at Velez Sarsfeld Stadium in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

"We all know we can improve our performance - hopefully, we will be more accurate at the weekend," he added.

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Wales skipper Duncan Jones is confident of making the second Test
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2006
Words:387
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