Head coach Gareth Williams is taking a squad of 28 players to south America, where Wales kick-off against host nation Argentina at the Estadio Hipodromo, in Buenos Aires, on 4 June in what is a reverse fixture to the one that launched the 1999 Rugby World Cup in Cardiff.
The two sides met in last year’s tournament in France when the Pumas triumphed 39-15. Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, Max Llewellyn, Ryan Conbeer, Cai Evans, Harri Morgan, Dewi Lake, Rhys Davies and Tommy Reffell will all be returning to have another crack at them next month.
Wales go on to meet France four days later at the same venue before playing their final pool match against Fiji at Estadio Ateneo Inmaculada on 12 June. Then it is into the final two knock-out matches.
And Williams is pleased with how preparations have gone ahead of travelling to Argentina. “Preparations have been going really well,” he said.
“The first three weeks were tough because we pushed the boys physically but that’s exactly where we wanted to be. We move now into a different phase and with it being so close to the tournament kick-off we’ve put some extra detail into the rugby preparations.
“Everything’s been based on rugby with the amount of running the boys have done and where they’ve developed physically is exciting. But we’ve really added the detail now with it being less than three weeks out from the first game.
“We play England next week in a behind closed doors training match and that will be another stepping stone for us in the planning we’ve done.”
Williams is confident his charges can give a good account of themselves in south America but has warned his side they will be entering the most physical pool in the championship. But Williams is confident his charges are up to the challenge.
“The physicality of this group is through the roof with Argentina, France and Fiji,” he said.
“We’re all very familiar with the style of rugby and just the natural talent that they hold in Fiji is fantastic to see. We’re very aware of that and it will be interesting to see how they set up during the first two games.
“That will give us the most opportunity to watch the opposition more than anything. A lot of our preparation has been to ensure we will be able to cope with this increased physicality.”