Gatland full of praise for Wales side after Argentina win
The Welsh side have moved up to third in the world rankings.
Warren Gatland hailed his team’s summer tour as the best of his 10-year spell with Wales after a comprehensive 30-12 win over Argentina.
Victory in Santa Fe not only sealed Wales a first series success in the land of the Pumas since 1999, but also sent Gatland’s men into third in World Rugby’s rankings, above rivals England.
Even a late red card for No 8 Ross Moriarty failed to detract from Wales’ glory as Josh Adams and Hallam Amos scored tries and fly-half Rhys Patchell ended the game with 20 points.
I haven’t seen a group this hungry for a while
“It’s definitely the most pleasing tour I’ve had with Wales. A lot of people were sceptical about the trip and they’d written us off, but we’ve achieved everything we set out to do,” Gatland said.
“I thought the boys were outstanding and the performance was very good. We’re up to third in the world which is an even bigger bonus as well.
“This group of players have been outstanding both on and off the field and with the way they’ve prepared and trained, I haven’t seen a group this hungry for a while.
“It’s a great position for us to be in.”
SGÔR TERFYNOL | 💯 Wales secure their first series win in Argentina since 1999 and go 3 from 3 in their Summer Tour of the Americas. pic.twitter.com/zGyDewxlfs— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) June 16, 2018
After impressing in a 22-20 victory over South Africa in Washington and then downing the Pumas 23-10 in the first Test, Wales were even better against the South Americans second time around.
Their defensive line speed made the hosts look plain average.
Argentina’s woeful discipline allowed Patchell to kick four first-half penalties and he also converted a sublime individual try from Worcester wing Adams, his first at international level.
After the break Amos finished off a fine team move, but the only disappointment for Wales was seeing Moriarty dismissed.
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FULL TIME ⏱ ARG 10-23 WAL A result worthy of the occasion for Wales in their long-awaited return to Argentina. A deserved victory, with a strong comeback by the Pumas. Buddugoliaeth haeddiannol yn erbyn yr Ariannin. Edrychwn ymlaen at y gêm nesaf yn Santa Fe yn llawn hyder.
The forward saw red for choking Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez around the neck late on, his actions leading to a brawl between both sides.
His leaving of the field allowed Julian Montoya to cross for a converted try in the game’s final play after Bautista Delguy had given Argentina hope just before the break.
“Ross has reacted after being hit from behind. I’m not too sure it was a red card, but you accept the referee’s decision,” Gatland said.
“In fairness to Ross, he’s disappointed in himself. He’s apologised to the player. It’s disappointing, but we won’t take too much out of that.”
Moriarty said on Instagram: “Sorry for my reaction at the end of the game. I’m extremely proud of this squad and our performances on this tour.”
Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade announced he will leave his role after next week’s Test with Scotland on the back of a second defeat in as many weeks.
Hourcade took charge of the Pumas in 2013, but took full responsibility for his team’s failings. His imminent departure leaves Argentina in trouble ahead of the upcoming Rugby Championship.
“The team did not show any answers and the responsibility is absolutely mine, I assume it entirely and the message is no longer getting through,” he said.
“We feel this is a completed cycle. I talked previously with the UAR and agreed the June window was decisive. We did everything possible and there were no responses from the team.”