Wales fly Northern Hemisphere flag
TEST MATCH REPORT: Wales was the only away team to win in Saturday’s opening round of June internationals.
The Welsh scored two stunning first-half tries to beat Argentina 23-10 in San Juan.
Those tries, in the seventh and 26th minutes, were enough for the win – with Los Pumas scoring their only try three minutes from time.
Wales was the only of the tier one visitors from the Northern Hemisphere to score a – with France (against New Zealand), Ireland (against Australia) and England (against South Africa) all suffering defeats.
It was a winning start for debutant Welsh captain Cory Hill.
Dogged defence and opportunism in attack laid the victory foundations for an experimental Welsh side, who led 17-3 at half-time.
With a number of senior players rested Warren Gatland’s young guns outplayed their more experienced hosts to overtake England in the world rankings.
Tries from James Davies and George North – plus 13 points from Rhys Patchell and Gareth Anscombe – was enough to secure their first victory in Argentina since 2004.
All Argentina could muster was a try from Tomas Lezana, while Nicholas Sanchez and Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias scored five points from the kicking tee.
This was a victory built on a watertight defensive effort which was polished off by some scintillating back play.
Sanchez got Argentina on the board after a mere three minutes with a straight forward penalty after Wales infringed at the breakdown. Wales’ opened their account with a magnificent try from openside flanker Davies.
With the visitors camped just out side the home side’s 22 the ball was spread left by Patchell to Hallam Amos who put in a sumptuous offload which sent the Scarlets star over the line. The Pumas responded with a period of sustained pressure on the Welsh tryline.
After a series of powerful forward surges Santiago Garcia Botta forced his way over the try line. But the television match official ruled out the try with footage showing Cory Hill and Rob Evans’ hands underneath the ball.
Argentina kept knocking on the door but try scorer Davies was able to relieve pressure with an expert turnover on the floor. With Wales finally back in the opposition half scrumhalf Gareth Davies broke clear off the back of a line-out before drawing his man and releasing North who ran in their second try.
Patchell further extended Wales’ lead with a penalty from 40 metres out after Hadleigh Parkes had stripped the ball in a tackle. As the first half entered its closing stages Wales were put under severe pressure by their hosts but showed great character to keep them out meaning they turned around 17-3 ahead at half time.
Patchell put Wales further ahead early in the second half with a penalty from 30 metres out after Argentina came in from the side at a ruck. Wales worked hard to try and close the game out with a number of surges close to the Argentinian line.
But just as they looked to be making progress scrum half Davies knocked the ball forward. Argentina were rattled but came close to narrowing the Welsh lead when Emiliano Boffelli fumbled the ball forward with the try line at his mercy after Iglesias out him through a hole.
Worcester Warriors wing Josh Adams very nearly put the game to bed when he sliced through the home sides defence. But his offload could not find Josh Turnbull who was in support.
Santiago Medrano appeared to have scored the hosts’ first try when he crawled over the try line from short range. But the TMO ruled out the try for double movement as the tighthead prop was held in the tackle.
But Argentina finally crossed the line when loose forward Lezana smashed his way through the Welsh defence.
Anscombe put the icing on the cake with a simple penalty to seal an excellent victory for Wales.
Man of the match: You can look at all three the Welsh loose forwards – Seb Davies, Ross Moriarty and James Davies – who won our award, after having scored his team’s first try, won numerous turnovers and made heaps of tackles.
Moment of the match: The James Davies try seven minutes into the match, after great hands by Wales, set the tone for the rest of the encounter.
Villain: Argentinean lock Tomas Lavanini remains a penalty magnet – some very silly mistakes.
Tries: J Davies, North
Cons: Patchell 2
Pens: Patchell 2, Anscombe
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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 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Replacements: 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 (captain), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Owen Watkin.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Mathieu Raynal (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)