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Wales hammer Argentina

16th November 2013 16:21

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halfpenny

Twenty points: Halfpenny

Four-try Wales impressed to overcome a fatigued Pumas side 40-6 in an entertaining Test at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday.

Scores from Mike Phillips, George North, Toby Faletau and Ken Owens coupled with twenty points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny were too much for a Pumas team that failed to capitalise on their early opportunities.

Where last week, against South Africa, Wales lacked a clinical element in attack, on Saturday they took the chances their play created, and quickly racked up a handsome lead.

Both teams began with plenty of enterprise in attack, and a high-tempo, offloading game was the order of the day. The Argentines had the better of the first-half, and indeed were briefly a man up after Justin Tipuric was sin-binned for tackling a player without the ball.

Sparkling runs from Santiago Cordero and a lovely chip and chase from captain Juan Leguizamon put the visitors in good attacking positions, but errors and good Welsh defence shut them down time and again.

It was from one of these attacks that Wales broke away to open the scoring. A loose Argentine pass on the home 22 was scooped up by Phillips, who raced home untouched, aided by the supporting run of North.

That added to an early Halfpenny penalty, and the full-back converted for a 10-0 lead inside the opening ten minutes.

The British and Irish Lions Man of the Series knocked over another three-pointer, before a textbook training maneouvre off a line-out in the visitors' 22 allowed Phillips and North to combine again, with the latter powering through the defence for Wales' second try.

Argentina continued to press, and in fact played most of the rugby in the first half. They eventually got on the board with a Nicolas Sanchez penalty, but that was soon cancelled out by another three-pointer from Halfpenny, taking the scores to 23-3 at half-time.

The second-half started slowly, with a penalty apiece for Halfpenny and Sanchez, but it well and truly burst into life on 56 minutes.

Faletau broke off the back of a Welsh scrum on half-way, the ball was spread wide to Halfpenny running the sweeping outside channel, and Liam Williams was put away up the left-hand-side.

He drew covering full-back Lucas Amorisino and sent the number eight galloping home for the game's third try.

Halfpenny converted, and Wales were left to cut loose in the final quarter. The match opened up and became scrappy as both sides began to tire, and fatigue looked to be an issue throughout for an Argentine side embattled by a lengthy and grueling season.

The hosts scored another effort, this time via a powerful driving maul, through replacement hooker Owens, which - surprise, surprise - was converted by Halfpenny.

Argentina, to their credit, continued to try things and play through the hands right to the death. While unquestionably guilty of trying to play too much rugby in the wrong areas of the pitch, Los Pumas showed some tidy stuff, with Cordero and Marcelo Bosch involved.

The game began to peter out in the final ten minutes; Samson Lee was yellow-carded late on for cynical play, and neither side was able to add to the scoreline.

A morale-boosting and much needed victory for Wales, then, while a ragged Argentina are left to lick their wounds after another disappointing loss.

Man of the Match: Leigh Halfpenny was typically outstanding, and Mike Phillips recorded his best performance in a Welsh jersey for some time. But number eight Toby Faletau was at the heart of all Wales' tight grunt and attacking verve. His try was just reward for a performance that reaffirmed how important he is to the Dragons and Welsh rugby.

Moment of the Match: Faletau's try was the pick of the bunch, and extinguished any faint hopes of an Argentine comeback.

Villain of the Match: A few niggles, but nothing malicious to report.

The scorers:

For Wales:
Tries: Phillips, North, Faletau, Owens
Conversions: Halfpenny 4
Penalties: Halfpenny 4
Yellow cards: Tipuric, Lee

For Argentina:
Penalties: Sanchez 2

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Warburton (c), 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Rhodri Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Ryan Jones, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Ashley Beck

Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Juan Leguizamon, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Maximiliano Bustos, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Santiago Iglesias, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Matias Diaz, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Gabriel Ascarate, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)

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