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Wales show the way in Santa Fe

Gatland’s men climb above England in world rankings after 30-12 success over Argentina.

Wales’ head coach Warren Gatland during the press conference at the Vale Resort, Hensol.
Wales’ head coach Warren Gatland during the press conference at the Vale Resort, Hensol.

Wales secured their first Test series victory in Argentina since 1999 with a 30-12 victory over the Pumas in Santa Fe.

Warren Gatland’s side scored two tries, courtesy of Josh Adams and Hallam Amos, while Rhys Patchell contributed 20 points from the kicking tee.

Daniel Hourcade’s woeful outfit crossed for two tries through Bautista Delguy and Julian Montoya – the second of which came after a red card for Wales’ Ross Moriarty.

Wales’ Rhys Patchell kicked 20 points in the Santa Fe success (David Davies/PA).

This impressive win means Wales have moved up to third in the world rankings, overtaking England – who lost to South Africa.

The tourists started the game strongly, putting Argentina under a huge amount of pressure in their own 22 and resulting in Rob Evans being held up over the line. Patchell nudged Wales into the lead after the hosts were deemed to be offside.

The Scarlets outside-half doubled Wales’ lead five minutes later with a second penalty attempt.

The Pumas threatened for the first time when Delguy was put in space before kicking over the top of the Wales defence, forcing Patchell to race back under pressure.

Worcester winger Adams scored Wales’ opening try with a stunning effort from inside his own half. With the visitors on the attack, a loose pass from Patchell was regathered by Adams, who beat three defenders before showing his pace to run in unopposed.

Gatland’s side had a second try disallowed when Patchell chipped over the top of the defence for Owen Watkin to touch down. However, the Ospreys centre was denied his first international try when the touch judge informed the referee the player was in front of the ball.

Instead, Wales had to settle for three points as Patchell successfully kicked the penalty from in front of the posts.

Patchell further extended the visitors’ lead from 35 metres out after Argentina had infringed at the breakdown.

Just when Wales seemed to be coasting to a comfortable victory Pumas lock Guido Petti beat Scott Williams on the outside before drawing his man to put Delguy over for a try, meaning the visitors led 19-5 at the interval.

Warren Gatland’s men moved above England in the world rankings with the win in Santa Fe (Ben Birchall/PA).

Patchell extended Wales’ lead straight after half-time with a successful penalty attempt from 45 metres out.

The Argentinian scrum was under pressure throughout the 80 minutes and cost them a further three points in the early stages of the second period.

Wales’ may have won the physical battle, but their back line was also mightily impressive. Their class behind the scrum was evident when Amos crossed for their second try of the game.

Wales’ Hallam Amos crossed in Santa Fe (David Davies/PA).

With the men in red on the front foot, the ball was moved through the hands as Patchell, Williams, Amos and  Moriarty showed great hands under pressure before releasing George North, who drew his man to put the Dragons full-back over.

To their credit Argentina refused to throw in the towel with their forwards carrying hard into the heart of the Wales defence – but they were turned over whenever they began to apply pressure.

However, the game finished on a sour note when Wales number eight Moriarty was sent off for dangerously putting Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez in a headlock.

It resulted in the hosts grabbing a consolation try when replacement hooker Montoya crossed from short range, with Sanchez converting.

Press Association


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