Wales claimed a 23-10 win against Argentina in San Juan on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
It may have been an unappealing contest, but Wales will take great pleasure from this result, knowing they are the only Six Nations side to have registered a victory over Rugby Championship opposition this week.
Wales outsmarted their hosts in every way possible to extend their dominance in this fixture to six wins in the last seven Tests.
Argentina may be a carbon copy of the Jaguares in terms of personnel, but they looked nothing like the side that has been steamrolling its way to a six-match winning streak in Super Rugby. There was a distinct lack of cohesion, energy and intent in their approach.
While Argentina were first on the scoreboard through a penalty by Nicolás Sánchez, Wales came back strongly as they seized control of the contest. The visitors went on the attack, but were guilty of going too lateral. Fullback Hallam Amos decided to straighten the line, taking two defenders out of the equation and sent flank James Davies over the tryline.
In a telling moment, Argentina turned down three possible points from a penalty just outside the 22 with captain Agustín Creevy ordering Sánchez to kick to the line. The flyhalf’s kick was too long and the ball sailed over the deadball line.
The hosts then went close to the line twice and while Marcos Kremer crossed the tryline at the third time of asking, the TMO ruled that there was no conclusive footage to confirm a grounding. Argentina were playing under an advantage, but again turned down the points on offer. And from the lineout, Davies was the first man in over the ball to win a relieving penalty for Wales after Matias Orlando was isolated.
Argentina were punished for their inability to keep the scoreboard ticking over when George North scored Wales’ second try. Rhys Patchell added the conversion and a penalty to enable Wales to open up a handy 14-point buffer at the break.
Argentina suffered two telling blows in quick succession when Sánchez failed to emerge from the dressing room at the start of the second half due to an injury, before flank Pablo Matera limped off six minutes after the restart.
Patchell knocked over a second penalty but after that, the scoring action fizzled out. That said, Wales refused to relinquish the ascendancy and kept on frustrating the error-riddled Argentinians.
Wales’ stubborn defence was eventually breached in the 78th minute when Tomas Lezana stretched out an arm to score, but by then the match was already gone, especially since Gareth Anscombe had added a third penalty to the visitors’ tally.
Argentina – Try: Tomas Lezana. Conversion: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias. Penalty: Nicolás Sánchez.
Wales – Tries: James Davies, George North. Conversions: Rhys Patchell (2). Penalties: Patchell (2), Gareth Anscombe.
Argentina – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de le Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Subs: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Javier Diaz, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere
Wales – 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 James Davies, 6 Seb Davies, 5 Cory Hill (c), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Wyn Jones.
Subs: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Owen Watkin.
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