Wales end World Cup warm-up with nervy victory
Much of Wales’ early play was littered with errors, but they took their scoring chances and stand-off James Hook made another composed goal-kicking contribution.
No.8 Andy Powell pressed a late claim for inclusion in coach Warren Gatland’s 30-man World Cup squad by scoring Wales’ opening try just before half-time..
Both sides, though, will need to find at least another gear before their World Cup openers against South Africa and England respectively.
“We made nine changes for this game, so it was difficult on the guys coming in,” said Gatland.
“We took a bit of time to settle, but we then took our opportunities very well. We will take confidence from our last three three performances.”
Argentina stand-off and captain Felipe Contepomi said: “That was our first Test for a long time, but I believe we made a step forward.
“In terms of the game plan and structure, we did well, but individual errors cost us. I think we are moving in the right direction.”
It was Contepomi who broke the deadlock ten minutes before half-time with an angled penalty that went over via an upright, but Wales hit back on the stroke of half-time with a stylish response.
Their forwards initially made the hard yards, with lock Alun-Wyn Jones delivering a scoring pass to Powell, who galloped over from 20 metres out.
Jones then found himself on the end of George North’s pass as Wales posted a second try, both converted by Hook. Wales continued to build, with two Hook penalties giving Wales a 20-3 lead and they quickly added a third try through the impressive North.
Argentina, by now well beaten, then produced a close-range consolation try for Martin Scelzo that Contepomi converted, before Hook ended the scoring by completing his penalty hat-trick.
Scorers: Wales: Tries: Powell, Wyn-Jones, North. Cons: Hook 2. Pens: Hook 3. Argentina: Try: Scelzo. Con: Contepomi. Pens: Contepomi 2.
Wales: Byrne, Halfpenny, J Davies, Roberts, North, Hook, Knoyle, James, Hibbard, A Jones, B Davies, A Jones, Lydiate, M Williams, Powell. Subs: Bennett, Bevington, Thomas, Tipuric, L Williams, S Williams, Brew.
Argentina: Rodriguez, Agulla, Bosch, Fernandez, Camacho, Contepomi, Vergallo, Roncero, Ledesma, Figallo, Carizza, Albacete, Farias Cabello, Leguizamon, Fernandez Lobbe. Replacements: Creevy, Scelzo, Galarza, Campos, Lalanne, Sanchez, Jose Imhoff.
Referee: R Poite (France). Attendance: 72,859