Patchell expecting Argentina backlash to first Test defeat
Wales won 23-10 in San Juan and can now seal their first Test series victory in Argentina since 1999.
Rhys Patchell has warned Wales to brace themselves for a “big response” from Argentina when the two teams meet again in next weeekend’s second Test in Santa Fe.
Warren Gatland’s side moved 1-0 up in the two-match series with an impressive 23-10 victory over the Pumas at San Juan’s Estadio del Bicentenario.
Flanker James Davies stood out with a man-of-the-match display but as good as Wales were, the hosts failed to fire a shot in an underwhelming performance.
FULL TIME ⏱ ARG 10-23 WAL— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) June 9, 2018
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 llawn hyder pic.twitter.com/s4ATPLFahO
Patchell believes it will be a different story next Saturday, however.
“I’d imagine Argentina are going to come with a big response next week,” said the Wales fly-half, who orchestrated his back line well and kicked 10 points.
“We played well as a team and I think Argentina were probably taken aback by the intensity our young pack showed.
“The boys dug in, but as happy and proud as we are of the performance, there is still plenty to work on. We’re delighted to come out with what is a very good result.”
I’d imagine Argentina are going to come with a big response next week Rhys Patchell
Davies scored Wales’ first try on his second Test start and George North’s effort meant Gatland’s side went to the break 17-3 up. They never relinquished that lead.
Patchell added an early second-half penalty before being replaced by Gareth Anscombe and he was at pains to praise the pack in front of him for his team’s success.
Against some giant Pumas forwards, inexperienced Wales youngsters Elliot Dee, Dillon Lewis and Adam Beard all stepped up to the plate in impressive fashion.
“The boys went well. The forwards certainly did in the first 20 minutes and when they do that, it makes things a lot easier for us as backs,” Patchell added.
“Defensively we worked really, really hard and that was something we talked about during the week.
“It was a great atmosphere, fantastic. We knew it would be white hot with the crowd right on top of us and they didn’t disappoint, but that’s why you play international rugby, to feature in front of such crowds. This was a good day.”
Wales were tough and obdurate in defence and they will now hope to seal their first Test series victory in Argentina since 1999.
After Anscombe started the 22-20 victory over South Africa in Washington, it was Patchell’s chance to begin against the Pumas. He hopes to hold on to the starting 10 shirt in Santa Fe.
Wales’ only slight injury concern for that game is Davies who has a hip knock.
“All I want to do is reward the team and keep them moving forward as that’s the role and responsibility that comes with playing 10,” Patchell said.
“The coaches will pick whoever they feel will do the best job for the team. On the whole I thought my performance was OK, but all I can concentrate on is being better next week than I was this.
“I need to work hard in training in the next few days and whatever happens, happens.
“We’ve talked about working together, having pride in our defence, and making it something that’s both critical to us and something we pride ourselves on.
“The forwards worked well and Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams led the line speed. We’ll be happy on the whole when we look at the video.”