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Dublin: 5°C Thursday 4 March 2021

Test round-up: Wales beat Argentina

With final squad announcements just around the corner, coaches have one more look over their options this weekend.

Andy Powell
Andy Powell
Image: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

WARREN GATLAND WILL have been happy to see his side collect a second win in two weeks with a relatively straight forward 28-13 victory over Argentina in Cardiff.

The best of the play was all from the visitors initially – Felipe Contepomi opening his account with a penalty on the half hour mark – but once Andy Powell barged over for his first try in a Wales shirt, they home outfit looked much more assured.

That score was followed by another five pointer from winger George North, which was converted by Hook, and Wales went in 14-3 ahead at the break.

As against England last week, the Welsh defensive line was in good form and the return of Alun-Wyn Jones in the second row steadied the pack and, particularly, lineout set pieces.

Hook added two more penalties after the interval and when North added a second try, the contest was effectively settled. Martin Scelzo did score a consolation five-point score for Argentina with two minutes remaining but the Wales’ ten had the final say – Hook collecting another three points with the final kick of the day.

Both Stephen Jones and Ryan Jones missed the fixture through injury and after losing Matthew Rees and Gavin Henson already, Gatland will be hoping for no further injuries before the World Cup kicks off next month.

South Africa, meanwhile, inflicted defeat on an under-strength New Zealand in Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon, Morne Steyn scoring all of his side’s points in their 18-5 Tri-Nations win.

The Kiwis were without talisman Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina among others and only responded through an unconverted Richard Kahui try. The victory was, however, a timely for the World Champions who had been without a win in the competition.

Steyn came in instead of Butch James and an immaculate kicking display – coupled with some incredible defence in the face of plenty of All Black possesion – moved South Africa 15-0 ahead by the first half hour. From there, they held their opponents well, becoming the first team in some time to limit Graham Henry’s side to one score.

Up in Murrayfield, Scotland were 23-12 winners over Italy. Alasdair Dickinson scored his first Test try following a superb run from Max Evans only for the visitors to hit back with a five-point score of their own through Tommaso Benvenuti on 24 minutes.

Dan Parks kept his side just ahead – collecting 13 points in total with some fine kicking – before Italy scored their second try just after the interval with scrum-half Fabio Semenzato squeezing over.

The score did reduce the deficit between the teams and Italy even had a chance to go ahead through the subsequent conversion, but Mike Blair followed up with a try of his own to re-establish the Scots’ lead and maintain their 100% record in the build-up to the World Cup.

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