Argentina 12-30 Wales: Gatland’s side ease to 2-0 series win

This summer was a shot to nothing for Wales. The gamble has paid off handsomely.

Victory here in Santa Fe not only sealed a first series win in Argentina since 1999, but also made it a clean sweep of three straight successes for Warren Gatland’s young side this month.

Even a late red card for Ross Moriarty for holding Argentina’s Nicolas Sanchez around the throat and a subsequent mass punch-up shouldn’t detract from Wales’ fine tour.

Josh Adams (above) side-stepped Emiliano Boffelli to score his first ever try for Wales


Argentina: Boffelli; Delguy, Orlando, De la Fuente (Iglesias 68), Moyano; Sanchez; Landajo (Betranou 52); Botta (Diaz 52), Creevy (Montoya), Chaparro (Medrano 59), Petti, Lavanini (Alemanno 49), Matera (Lezana 49), Kremer, Desio Replacements not used: Cancelliere

Wales: Amos (Prydie 71); Adams, S Williams, Watkin, North; Patchell (Anscombe 58), A Davies (61) (T Williams 58); R Evans (Smith 65), Elias (Dee 61), Francis (Lewis 58), Beard (B Davies 61), Hill, Jenkins, J Davies (Turnbull 71,) Moriarty

Scorers Argentina Tries: Delguy 39, Montoya 85 Conversion: Sanchez 86

Wales Tries: Adams 23, Amos 56 Conversion: Patchell 24 Penalties: Patchell 9, 16, 34, 38, 42, 52

Attendance: 26,820 

Referee: Jaco Peyper 

Star man: Ellis Jenkins (Wales) 

‘We were outstanding and we have achieved everything we wanted on this tour,’ said Gatland, whose team beat South Africa in Washington before twice downing the South Americans.

‘I thought we were even better than we were in the first Test in San Juan and this result takes us up to third in the world and above England. I’ve never seen a group of players this hungry.’ 

Moriarty became only the eighth Welshman to be sent off in a Test match late on after grabbing Nicolas Sanchez by the throat. It failed to detract from Wales’ success.

Argentina were woeful and their points came from a Bautista Delguy’s try and a Julian Montoya effort which came after Moriarty’s dismissal.

‘Ross has reacted after he was being held. He’s really disappointed, but I’m not sure it’s a red card,’ Gatland said.

Moriarty apologised for his actions and said: ‘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 quit his role as Pumas boss after his game. He will leave the role after next Saturday’s game with Scotland. 

George North skipped past a defender before passing inside for Hallam Amos to cross

George North skipped past a defender before passing inside for Hallam Amos to cross

Remarkably, victory by more than 15 points also moved Wales up to third place in World Rugby’s rankings and above bitter rivals England.

Captain Cory Hill had said on the eve of this game a win would turn ‘a good tour into a great one’ and it’s hard to argue with that given the next generation of Welsh talent which has emerged in recent weeks. It bodes very well for Wales for both next year’s World Cup and beyond.

Gatland said his side ’embarrassed’ Argentina in the first Test in San Juan and tries from Josh Adams and Hallam Amos ensured the hosts again went home with their tails firmly between their legs.

Argentina were woeful and their shocking discipline allowed Rhys Patchell to end the game with six penalties and a 20-point haul. The hosts’ points came from Bautista Delguy and Julian Montoya and a late Sanchez conversion, but their paucity should take nothing away from Wales who have excelled themselves this month.

Hallam Amos (right) is congratulated by George North for scoring a try 

Hallam Amos (right) is congratulated by George North for scoring a try 

Argentina’s Super Saturday had gotten off to a false start with their football side held to a 1-1 draw at the FIFA World Cup. Lionel Messi’s failure to convert a penalty against Iceland had the Santa Fe locals down in the dumps even before the Pumas took to the field to face Wales.

The round ball game is a religion here in Argentina – rugby very much plays second fiddle – and the challenge for Gatland’s men ahead of kick-off was to rub more salt in home wounds.

In their bid to do so, Gatland selected dual openside flankers in Ellis Jenkins and James Davies, the former one of five changes to the side from the impressive first Test success in San Juan.

A healthy 26,820 crowd at the Estadio Brigadier Lopez – where a moat surrounds the pitch and barbed wire stops fans from invading the playing surface – saw Wales start the better.

Aled Davies passes the ball under pressure as Wales carved out an impressive victory 

Aled Davies passes the ball under pressure as Wales carved out an impressive victory 

Just as they had done in San Juan, Gatland’s young forwards began impressively.

An early Welsh driving maul even floored referee Jaco Peyper and while Patchell was smashed back by Pablo Matera, the fly-half opened the scoring with three points after Argentina strayed offside.

The hosts were certainly on the wrong side of the official. They conceded a needless free-kick on the Welsh line and were then pinged for double movement, allowing Patchell to make it 6-0.

Both kicks were accompanied by jeers from the home crowd who were irritated by their team not helping themselves. The frustrating Sanchez summed that up by needlessly missing touch.

Patchell then pushed a third penalty effort wide of the right-hand upright after a monstrous Welsh scrum, but it didn’t matter too much as Adams then came up with a moment of magic.

The Worcester wing was joint top try-scorer in the Aviva Premiership last season and he showed why with his first at international level. Patchell’s poor pass fell to him with little on.

Adams made light of the circumstances, stepping past two poor home tackle attempts to sprint to the line. Peyper sent the score upstairs as it looked like Francis was guilty of blocking an Argentine defender, but the try was given and Patchell nailed the touchline conversion.

Ironically, Watkin then had a try ruled out for Jenkins running a blocking line, but Peyper was already playing advantage to Wales and brought the play back. Patchell kicked the goal and then added another three points after some fine breakdown work from Jenkins won a penalty.

That wasn’t the end of the scoring though, Argentina giving themselves a lifeline just before the break. Moriarty jumped out of the defensive line, Guido Petti broke clear and put Delguy in at the corner. Sanchez missed the conversion.

Patchell nailed a penalty from inside his own half as soon as the game resumed, forcing Argentina into three early replacements as they chased the game.

Wales’ set-piece was still excellent and Argentina were then splintered at another scrum. Gatland must have been purring.

Props Rob Evans and Francis were having excellent games and Patchell was rewarding his forwards from the tee as he made it 25-5. Amos then put the contest to bed.

Gareth Anscombe is tackled by Argentina's Marcos Kremer and Matias Alemanno

Gareth Anscombe is tackled by Argentina’s Marcos Kremer and Matias Alemanno

It was a sublime team score, Patchell starting the move before sublime hands from both Moriarty and George North sent the marauding Amos over. Patchell couldn’t convert, but there was now no chance Argentina were coming back.

Gatland knew it and unloaded his bench to give the replacements time to impress. In truth, the final 20 minutes was much quieter not that Wales gave a jot by that stage.

Argentina huffed and puffed, but they only got their rewards after Moriarty was rightfully dismissed by Peyper late on after a tangle with Sanchez. His dismissal saw both teams come to blows and it allowed Montoya to cross with the game’s final play, Sanchez converting.