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First half effort sees Wales past Argentina

The hosts dominated possession and territory but Wales made their early scores count.

George North (file) crossed the whitewash for Wales.
George North (file) crossed the whitewash for Wales.
Image: David Davies/PA Images

Argentina 10

Wales 23

FIRST TIME CAPTAIN Cory Hill led Wales to a 23-10 victory over Argentina in San Juan tonight in the first of a two-Test series.

Dogged defence and opportunism in attack laid the victory foundations for an experimental Welsh side, who led 17-3 at half-time.

Victory for Wales prevented a clean sweep by southern hemisphere countries after New Zealand, Australia and South Africa won earlier in the day.

Argentina, fielding 14 starters from the Jaguares team that won their last six Super Rugby matches, were bitterly disappointing, offering virtually no creativity in attack.

The Pumas were on the scoreboard within 106 seconds of the kick-off as star fly-half Nicolas Sanchez slotted a penalty before a 23,000 crowd in the western city.

After absorbing considerable early pressure, Wales made the most of their first scoring opportunity to take the lead on eight minutes at Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario.

A brilliant one-hand pass to his right by full-back Hallam Amos sent flanker James Davies over in the corner and fly-half Rhys Patchell succeeded with a challenging conversion.

Wales were then forced to defend magnificently for many minutes as the Pumas camped inside their opponents’ 22 and made numerous attempts to drive the ball over the line.

When flanker Marcos Kremer did force his way over and thought he had scored, the South African television match official disagreed, saying there was not conclusive proof of a touchdown.

More intense Argentine pressure ended after they were penalised and when Wales got another chance to score, they grabbed it to go 14-3 ahead despite minimal possession.

The tourists won a line-out, scrum-half Gareth Davies broke free and passed to 75-cap winger George North, who darted over and Patchell converted.

Argentina were being penalised frequently and Patchell was successful with a shot at goal on 36 minutes to close the first-half scoring with Wales 14 points ahead.

Patchell had two opportunities from penalty kicks to increase the lead and succeeded with the first while the second drifted narrowly wide.

Meanwhile, a bad day at the office for Argentina got worse when captain and flanker Pablo Matera limped off on 47 minutes having just recovered from a long injury absence.

When the Pumas got a rare second-half chance to score, substitute winger Sebastian Cancelliere dropped the ball within sight of the tryline.

Argentina knew it was not going to be their day when replacement hooker Julian Montoya had a try disallowed five minutes from time.

The Pumas finally got a try, from substitute loose forward Tomas Lezana which Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias converted, but it was too little, too late.

Wales were awarded a close-range penalty in front of the posts in additional time and Gareth Anscombe made no mistake.

Wales scorersTries: James Davies, George North

Conversions: Rhys Patchell [2 from 2]

Penalties: Patchell [2], Gareth Anscombe

Argentina scorersTry: Tomas Lezana

Conversion: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias [1 from 1]

Penalty: Nicolas Sanchez

WALES (15-1): Hallam Amos; Josh Adams, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, George North; Rhys Patchell, Gareth Davies; Ross Moriarty, James Davies, Seb Davies; Cory Hill (capt), Adam Beard; Dillon Lewis, Elliot Dee, Rob Evans

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Nicky Smith, Tomas Francis, Josh Turnbull, Aaron Wainwright, Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe, Owen Watkin.

ARGENTINA (15-1): Emiliano Boffelli; Bautista Delguy, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano; Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertranou; Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera; Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti; Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustin Creevy, Santiago Garcia Botta.

Replacements: Julian Montoya, Javier Diaz, Santiago Medrano, Matías Alemanno, Tomas Lezana, Martín Landajo, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Sebastian Cancelliere.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland).

(C) AFP 2018

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