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Contepomi savouring return to Wales

FELIPE Contepomi will return to the site of one of his most treasured rugby memories when he lines up for Argentina against Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

Contepomi (pictured right), will be the only survivor from the Argentina side that stunned Wales 30-16 in Cardiff in 2001 when the Pumas take the field on Saturday.

The former Leinster man contributed 25 points to that success as the South Americans began their climb to claim a place at international rugby's top table.

"It's one of the great memories of this team but I am the only survivor. For many of the players from that game, and every time we meet up to catch up, we always remember that game," he said.

"It was one of our biggest wins away from home and gave us the confidence and mentality to look to win every game, no matter where.

"Wales is a rugby nation that we love, we've always been very in touch since the seventies when we nearly beat them but lost in the last minute.

"It's one of the places you always want to play and I was so lucky to be part of the team that beat Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

"I remember the try I scored and enjoyed it. It was great but it was good for the team. The whole tour was great, that gave us the confidence to go on and beat Scotland at Murrayfield."

Veteran centre Contepomi has been recalled to the Argentina starting line-up having sat out the Pumas' Rugby Championship campaign.

It will be the Stade Francais back's 79th cap for his country, but his return will see him facing the challenge of coping with the wrecking ball abilities of Jamie Roberts, who is back in the Wales team having missed the tour of Australia following knee surgery.

Contepomi said: "It's a huge challenge. It's like climbing Mount Everest.

"Jamie is one of the best centres in Europe and one of, if not the best, in the world.

"As a player you want to play against the best and to have that challenge on Saturday and I'm looking forward to it.

"He's a great guy and it's delightful to watch him play but it's not so good when he's in front of you.

"Wales have a lot of important players and we see them as a unit. But Jamie has that extra X-factor."


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