Wales in series whitewash
MATCH REPORT: Wales recorded a second series whitewash in Argentina, beating an undisciplined Los Pumas 30-22 in Sante Fe on Saturday.
The only other time Wales has been able to win both matches on tour in South American was back in 1999.
As was the case in last week’s 23-10 win in San Juan, Wales were just far more clinical than a Los Pumas outfit that looked uninterest for large parts of the encounter.
However, the game finished on a sour note when Welsh No.8 Ross Moriarty lost his self-control in the face of constant off the ball niggle and decided to choke an opponent in frustration. Not even the assistant referee could get him off.
Flyhalf Rhys Patchell kicked 20 points as Wales routed Argentina – Los Pumas’ second try coming after the Moriarty red card, five minutes into referee’s additional time..
The unexpectedly easy triumph for an experimental Welsh team completed a perfect Americas tour – after earlier wins over South Africa in Washington and Argentina in San Juan.
Patchell succeeded with seven of nine shots at goal – six penalties and a conversion – as Wales cruised to success after building a 19-5 half-time advantage.
The Pumas were woeful as they suffered a 21st loss in 27 Tests since finishing fourth at the 2015 World Cup in England.
They were expected to perform much better given virtually the entire national side play for Jaguares, who have won their last six Super Rugby matches, including two in New Zealand.
Patchell slotted penalties after nine and 16 minutes to give the tourists a six-point lead before his third shot at goal drifted narrowly wide.
Wales were dominating possession and territory despite coach Warren Gatland fielding an experimental team that included two openside flanks in James Davies and Ellis Jenkins.
Patchell indirectly set up the first Welsh try on 23 minutes when his long, stray pass was picked up by wing Josh Adams just millimetres from the touchline in the middle of the pitch.
Adams, a late injury-induced call-up to the squad, then cut in and powered past several Pumas to touch down for a great solo try which Patchell converted.
Another two Patchell penalties and the Welsh were cruising with a 19-point lead, as Argentina barely threatened to score in front of a subdued home crowd.
With half-time fast approaching, the Pumas finally sprung to life when Bautista Delguy scored his first try after outpacing wing George North.
Sanchez, the leading points scorer at the 2015 World Cup, failed to convert, leaving Argentina 14 points behind at the break.
If Argentine supporters thought the team had to improve on their showing in San Juan, they were sadly mistaken during the opening 40 minutes.
They played into the hands of Patchell with constant ill discipline, being blown up for scrum infringements and straying offside, and also committed numerous handling errors.
After Patchell kicked another penalty to open the second-half scoring, frustrated Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade replaced skipper and hooker Agustin Creevy.
Recalled scrumhalf Martin Landajo soon followed to the bench, but there was no stopping Wales and another Patchell penalty stretched the lead to 20 points with 52 minutes gone.
Hallam Amos scored the second Welsh try on 56 minutes, after slick handling.
After Moriarty was sent off, Pumas substitute hooker Julian Montoya scored and Sanchez converted.
Man of the match: George North, as usual, had good run metres and a sublime off-load for the Hallam Amos try. Rhys Patchell kept his team in command on the scoreboard with a steady string of penalties – six in all. However, the Welsh flanks Ellis Jenkins and James Davies were the real difference between the teams and – as a collective – win our award.
Moment of the match: The Hallam Amos try in the 55th minute. There was a great run by George North to get Wales over the gainline, before a series of passes set up Amos for the try.
Villain: It was going to go to serial offender Tomas Lavanini. However, in the 83rd minute Wales No.8 Ross Moriarty allowed his frustration to get the better of him and choked an opponent – earning a red card.
Tries: Delguy, Montoya
Tries: Adams, Amos
Pens: Patchell 6
Red card: Ross Moriarty (Wale, 83 – foul play, choking an opponent)
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Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 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 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere.
Wales: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 James Davies, 6 Ellis Jenkins, 5 Cory Hill (captain), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Josh Turnbull, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Tom Prydie.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)