Five things we learned from Wales’ win over Argentina

Wales produced a stellar display to silence San Juan and claim a 23-10 victory over Argentina.

Wales produced a stellar display to silence San Juan and claim a 23-10 victory over Argentina.

James Davies and George North crossed the whitewash in the first half to make it two wins from two summer Tests for Warren Gatland’s side.

Gatland made nine changes from the XV that beat South Africa 22-20 and the freshness and vigour seen in Washington followed them to South America.

Here’s a rundown of the key takeaways from the game.


On paper, there was a huge gulf in experience between the grizzled Pumas pack and Wales’ callow eight with only 65 caps among them.

The scintillating form of Jaguares, their Super Rugby feeder team, seemed to leave the likes of Tomas Lavanini and Marcos Kremer ready to wreak havoc.

But right from the off, the capacity crowd in Estadio San Juan del Bicentario had little to cheer as their traditional strength – the set piece – was smothered.

Wales won a spree of free-kicks at scrum time in the first half to deny the home side an attacking platform.

Only Ireland finished above Wales in the 2018 NatWest Six Nations table and as dominant performances on foreign soil pile up, plenty will start to make their case as contenders at next year’s World Cup.


Gatland’s changes were nothing short of a masterstroke, as those players with a point to prove and a case to make starred in this victory.

Ellis Jenkins, skipper against South Africa, made a convincing claim on the number 7 jersey in that game but James Davies went one better here.

The 27-year-old was endlessly tenacious at the breakdown, one turnover on the half-hour stopping a heaving Argentina attack in its tracks and ensuring three rolling mauls came to nothing.

He also poached the opening try from ten metres, latching onto a sublime Hallam Amos offload to establish an early lead.

Tomos Williams drew praise for his display against the Boks, so scrum-half Gareth Davies knew he needed to get his established backline quick ball.

The Scarlets man did just that and nabbed the second score, making the most of mismatch with Agustin Creevy to snipe home from the back of a lineout.


The 2018 NatWest Six Nations provided a comprehensive examination of Rhys Patchell’s ability as a player and strength as a person.

Gatland stuck with him, this his first start since the loss to England, and his booming right boot gave Wales a real edge in this encounter.

Making good on their commitment to keep the ball on field for as long as possible on this tour, Patchell utterly outwitted opposite number Nicolas Sanchez in the territory stakes.

Two glaring errors when kicking from hand saw Sanchez hauled off at the break, while his Welsh counterpart ensured his side occupied dangerous areas.

On this showing, Patchell should push Dan Biggar hard to keep hold of his spot in the side with Gareth Anscombe also waiting in the wings.


Having taken the decision to rest his British and Irish Lions, Gatland opted to appoint co-captains for the tour.

Both Ellis Jenkins and Cory Hill would get the chance to lead their country, an authentic way to blood the nation’s future leaders in combat conditions.

The damage was done in the first half and Hill led his charges through the latter stages of the game with aplomb, although they conceded at the death when Tomas Lezana dived over.

It would be a brave man to predict who will be handed the armband for the second Test next week, given how well Jenkins and Hill have both worn it.


Wales’ mettle will again be tested as they head to Santa Fe for the next Test at Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez Stadium, which holds 47,000.

Argentina have only won two of their last 12 games and have been on the losing side in six of their last seven meetings with Wales.

But their resolve will be redoubled as they look to avoid a 2-0 series defeat on home soil.

Daniel Hourcade couldn’t hide his frustration at the Pumas lack of spark, so will have his team ready to correct their mistakes this time next week.