Planet Rugby

Second warm-up win for Wales

20th August 2011 15:58

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Tavis Knoyle in action for Wales against Argentina

Scragged: Tavis Knoyle

Wales scored their second Test victory in as many weeks on Saturday with a 28-13 victory over 2007 World Cup semi-finalists Argentina at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Wales led 14-3 at half-time thanks to try from number eight Andy Powell and a handful of penalties from James Hook.

The Pumas pack dominated in opening stages but their kickers - Felipe Contepomi and Marcelo Bosch - failed to reflect the visitors' ascendancy on the scoreboard.

Wales lock Alun-Wyn Jones provided the spark the hosts need just before the break, setting up Powell to score before touching down himself shortly after the break.

The home side raised their game in the second period, taking charge to seal victory via a late try from wing George North.

Replacement front-row Martin Scelzo scored a consolation try for Argentina in the dying moments which Felipe converted but the result was already beyond doubt.

Wales were determined to build on the triumph over England last weekend and enter their World Cup opener against world champions South Africa on September, 11, on the back of two victories.

One worry, though, for Wales was they lost veteran fly-half Stephen Jones before kick-off, with a recurrence of a calf injury, with Scott Williams stepping up to the bench.

But Wales led by Martyn Williams, who won his 99th cap, comfortably completed their mission.

The Pumas gave the hosts a real scare early on after Contepomi threaded a grubber along the touchline.

Leicester Tigers' Horacio Agulla scorched-up the wing and beat Jonathan Davies to the ball but it had brushed the touchline on the bounce.

Wales had their first chance eighteen minutes into the scrappy encounter but Davies was unable to hold-on to Hook's pass following a Tavis Knoyle quick tap.

Contepomi opened the scoring on 29 minutes with a well-taken penalty. Moments later the Argentine fly-half had the chance to extend the visitors lead but was once again off target with the boot.

And Wales took full advantage moments later when they surged into the lead thanks to Powell's first ever try for his country.

Knoyle broke off the back of a scrappy scrum and linked with second-row Jones who then released Powell to race into the corner. Hook expertly slotted the touchline conversion and they grabbed a second quick-fire try within moments of the restart.

Jamie Roberts offloaded out of contact to release North and the Scarlets flyer beat his opposite number and Contepomi before drawing Martin Rodriguez to put Jones over for a try of his own.

Hook was again on target to hand Wales a 14-3 half-time lead. Wales started the second-half with much better effect than the first and they got their reward with a Hook penalty on 44 minutes.

He added a second on 53 minutes to extend Wales' lead to 20-3. Argentina were dealt a blow when Juan Fernandez Lobbe was sent to the sin-bin after taking Jones out at the restart.

But Contepomi struck-back with a penalty on 62 minutes to reduce the deficit to 20-6. Wales made a raft of replacements in the final quarter and it was no surprise that the game lost its shape and rhythm.

And they were dealt a World Cup scare when Roberts limped off with what appeared to be a dead leg. But the hosts finished in style with North crashing over for his seventh try in nine matches for Wales.

It was a well-worked move by Wales, they sucked in the Pumas' defence and spread the ball wide to centre Davies who flicked a pass inside to North.

Argentina grabbed a late consolation try with a trademark drive over maul which Contepomi converted but it was not enough and Hook added a final penalty at the death.

The scorers:

For Wales:
Tries: Powell, AW Jones, NorthCon: Hook 2
Pen: Hook 3

For Argentina:
Try: Scelzo
Cons: Contepomi
Pens: Contepomi 2

Wales: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Jamie Roberts, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 James Hook, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Martyn Williams (capt), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Jonathan Thomas, 19 Justin Tipuric, 20 Lloyd Williams, 21 Scott Williams, 22 Aled Brew.

Argentina: 15 Martin Rodriguez, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Gonzalo Camacho, 10 Felipe Contepomi (c), 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16Agustin Creevy, 17 Martin Scelzo, 18 Mariano Galarza, 19 Alejandro Campos, 20 Alfredo Lalanne, 21 Nicolas Sanchez, 22 Juan Imhoff.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

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