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Ross Moriarty impressed by Wales' response to pressure

Published 13/11/2016

Number eight Ross Moriarty admitted the pressure was on Wales to deliver a performance against Argentina
Number eight Ross Moriarty admitted the pressure was on Wales to deliver a performance against Argentina

Ross Moriarty admitted the pressure had been on Wales to deliver a performance and result after they rediscovered the winning habit by beating Argentina.

Wales' first victory for eight months - a 24-20 success against the Pumas in Cardiff - lifted some of the gloom that descended following Australia's Principality Stadium stroll seven days earlier.

The Wallabies' 32-8 demolition left Wales reeling from a heaviest home defeat since New Zealand put 45 points on them 10 years ago.

So a response was required, and a team showing six changes duly delivered, putting Wales back on track as they build towards remaining autumn appointments with Japan and South Africa.

"Obviously, it was a tough week (after Australia). It was a heavy defeat," Wales number eight Moriarty said.

"The pressure was on us to bounce back. We stuck together and did that.

"Everybody is going to have criticism at some point in their careers. You have to deal with it and use that to your advantage in a way. It was a good reaction against a good Argentina team, which makes it even better.

"We looked at their forwards during the week. They have had a lot of experience in the Rugby Championship and are a very strong outfit.

"We targeted that, and I felt we dealt with their ball-carriers well. It shows the difference when you front up, stop them in their tracks and don't give them easy yards."

Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley reacted to the Australia debacle in decisive fashion, not being afraid to make big calls like leaving out 84 times-capped British and Irish Lions Test centre Jamie Roberts, and a battling display reaped its reward.

Hooker Ken Owens, who went off after taking a heavy hit in the ribs and to his hip, added: "We worked hard in training and we had some tough meetings and some tough sessions, and I think that came through in the performance.

"We stopped Argentina's off-loading game by winning a lot of the collisions, and we dominated possession and territory, especially at the end of the first half, and put them under pressure.

"We probably left a couple of scores out there, but our defence was much better.

"We were in their 22 for nine minutes in the first half, or something ridiculous like that, and had a sequence of line-outs, scrums and penalties, so not to score was frustrating. That's something we have to improve on.

"We spoke all week about not being individual about what we are doing close to the line.

"There was a bit of white-line fever at times, and we didn't execute as well as we would have liked in that area.

"The top teams in the southern hemisphere convert those chances - just look at Australia last week - and we still have to work on that part of our game."

And centre Scott Williams said: "There was a lot of talk in the week about how good Argentina were, and we were obviously disappointed with our performance against Australia.

"I thought we came out, fronted up and are happy to come away with the win.

"We were a lot better in defence. We knew Argentina would want to come here and look to throw the ball around, and I thought our forwards stepped up to the mark. We were a lot more physical in the tackle and contact area.

"Argentina are a very good side. There was pressure on us after last week, and we will take a lot from the game. We have to make sure we keep on improving."

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