Rugby

Wales hammer woeful Pumas

2013-11-16 18:34
Leigh Halfpenny (AFP)

Cardiff - Wales rebounded from a disappointing loss to South Africa to clinch a record 40-6 win over Argentina with a clinical display at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Tries in the first half by Mike Phillips and George North were followed by scores from Toby Faletau and Ken Owens in the second half while Leigh Halfpenny kicked 20 points.

The victory ended Wales' dismal run of results in their autumn internationals having gone almost four years without a victory at this stage of the year, since last beating the Pumas in 2009.

Argentina could only managed two penalties for Nicolas Sanchez in a display marred by errors that condemned Los Pumas to an eighth straight Test defeat, their worst run since 1936.

Both teams had made four changes from last week's defeats to South Africa and England but it was Wales who looked more settled amid a frantic start.

Early work by Sam Warburton, Richard Hibbard and North resulted in Halfpenny kicking the opening points after six minutes.

In contrast, Argentina made an error-strewn start and despite a promising burst by lock Manual Carriza, handling errors in midfield gifted Phillips the game's first try.

Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez fumbled possession under pressure from Hibbard and into the hands of Phillips who ran 70 metres to score, with the retreating defenders distracted by North's supporting run. Halfpenny converted for a 10-point lead after as many minutes.

However Argentina showed flashes of promise, not least their 19-year-old wing Santiago Cordero, who stepped through six red shirts.

Dan Biggar eventually covered to clear the danger but flanker Justin Tipuric was spotted tackling Horacio Agulla, winning his 50th cap, off the ball to earn a yellow card.

Sanchez failed to capitalise when his penalty kick struck the post and Santiago Fernandez dropped the rebound, while Halfpenny ensured Wales escaped the 10-minute sin bin in credit with a second penalty.

Argentina continued to make mistakes and were carved open by a move straight from the Wales training pitch.

Alun Wyn Jones tapped possession from a lineout to Phillips and the scrum-half then flicked a reverse pass to the onrushing North who burst through, beating Agulla, to score under the posts and hand Halfpenny a simple conversion.

Sanchez finally got Argentina off the mark after half an hour with a penalty that was cancelled out by Halfpenny on the stroke of half-time when Wales led 23-3.

The hosts got off to a thunderous start after the break with Biggar and Scott Williams launching an attack from their own try line that released North only for the giant wing to be eventually denied a score in the corner.

Wales took some consolation with Halfpenny's fourth penalty before combining once more for Faletau's try on 56 minutes.

The No 8 launched the move from the tail of a scrum in midfield while long passes by Biggar and Williams stretched Argentina. Wing Liam Williams brushed off one tackler before finding Faletau inside with a scoring pass. Halfpenny's conversion effectively ended the contest with Wales well ahead 33-6.

Wales had their tails up with Phillips, Biggar and North full of running but it was their pack who combined for the fourth and final try as replacement hooker Owens claimed his first Test try when he finished a perfectly executed driving lineout.


Read more on:    argentina  |  wales  |  rugby
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