Wales will be looking to wrap up a 2-0 series win over Argentina when the teams clash at Estadio Brigadier Lopez in Santa Fe on Saturday.
On the back of an impressive 23-10 win in San Juan last weekend, Warren Gatland’s men will be confident of finishing the job in Argentina.
In contrast, the Pumas will have been hugely frustrated with their opening Test performance, particularly after the Jaguares’ recent form.
Wales have made five changes to their XV as Ellis Jenkins, Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Aled Davies and Owen Watkin all come into the team. The arrival of ruck specialist Jenkins in particular will be a worry for Argentina as they were well beaten at the breakdown one week ago.
Speaking of Argentina and that performance last week fell way short of the recent showings the Jaguares had displayed in Super Rugby. They regressed to their early term form with an effort that was littered with errors and indecision, which Wales to their part helped bring on.
The likes of James Davies proved a nuisance to the Pumas, who seemed shocked by the battle at every ruck and could not live with slow ball. That is an area of the game they would surely have focussed on this week as they look to respond and avoid back-to-back June series losses.
Of course the big picture for both sides is next year’s Rugby World Cup and for Wales they will be delighted to have defeated South Africa and Argentina thus far, with head coach Gatland admitting: “Looking at the objectives of this tour, we are right on track, we have won two games from two but more importantly we have exposed players to Test match rugby and given more opportunity and that was the aim coming in.”
“We want to go home three from three but know the challenge we are up against this weekend and we also are looking at the bigger picture. We might have picked a slightly different team if it was just about results but it is about more than that it is about building for 2019.”
Building for next year is something the Pumas know can only happen if they end a wretched run of international form that has seen them win just three of their last 21 outings. With the talent at their disposal and familiarity in their line-up that is disappointing to say the least and Daniel Hourcade knows the pressure is on this week to give their fans and players something to build on before facing Scotland.
Players to watch:
For Argentina: The only change to Argentina’s side sees the experienced Martin Landajo come in at scrum-half. Pumas fans will hope his presence lifts the troops as they look to bounce back from last week’s horror showing, with his ability to up the tempo while being a nuisance to the opposition a much-needed boost.
For Wales: He was outstanding against South Africa in Washington DC and was subsequently upset to miss out on selection last week. But it is a return to the side on Saturday for Ellis Jenkins. The flanker is set to combine with James Davies in what is a fearsome breakdown duo that could make life tough for Argentina. There is also pressure on Owen Watkin at centre as he comes in for the injured Hadleigh Parkes.
Head-to-head: The battle between the number sevens is once again going to be an interesting one. Last week James Davies came out on top with his breakdown work standing out so Marcos Kremer will want to make a point on Saturday, with his speed and power needing to come to the fore if Argentina are to win.
2018: Wales won 23-10 in San Juan
2016: Wales won 24-20 in Cardiff
2013: Wales won 40-6 in Cardiff
2012: Argentina won 26-12 in Cardiff
2011: Wales won 28-13 in Cardiff
2009: Wales won 33-16 in Cardiff
2007: Wales won 27-20 in Cardiff
2006: Argentina won 45-27 in Buenos Aires
Prediction: Argentina can’t be much worse than last week but we still feel the visitors will sneak this one. Wales by three.
Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de le Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 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 (c), 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
Date: Saturday, June 16
Venue: Estadio Brigadier Lopez, Santa Fe
Kick-off: 16:40 local (20:40 BST, 19:40 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Television match official: Marius Jonker (South Africa)