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Wales bounce back with a must-needed win over Argentina

As the second game of the Autumn Nations Series, Wales bounced back from a crushing loss to New Zealand to defeat Argentina.

The victory was clinched by tries scored by Taulupe Faletau and Tomos Williams.

After allowing eight tries to the All Blacks, Wales’ defensive effort was noticeably better.

Argentina answered with two penalties from Emiliano Boffelli and a try from Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, but Wales hung on for the win.

Last Sunday, the Pumas beat England 30-29 at Twickenham, but they were unable to repeat that achievement against Wayne Pivac’s team in Cardiff.

Wales needed this victory before hosting Georgia and Australia in their final two November games.

Wales have won three of their ten games so far in 2022.

The home team owed a lot to the back row effort of captain Justin Tipuric, player of the match Foletotau, and flanker Jac Morgan, who came on in place of Dan Lydiate in the 28th minute.

The Pumas were favoured to win because they were ranked higher than the hosts, who were ranked ninth.

With wins against Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, and England under their belts, Argentina came into Cardiff feeling confident.

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When captain Julian Montoya was ruled out with a rib injury, head coach Michael Cheika nominated an unchanged 23-man team. However, London Irish hooker Agustin Creevy replaced Montoya, and Pablo Matera was named captain.

Pivac made three substitutions, all of which involved position changes. He brought in wing Alex Cuthbert, prop Dillon Lewis, and Lydiate.

Blind-side Lydiate hunkered down in the back row with 246-cap veterans Tipuric and Faletau.

Since Lydiate’s father, John, passed away last weekend, the Wales team has been wearing black armbands in his honour.

After injuries to Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams, the most interesting selection was Louis Rees-Zammit of Gloucester moving from wing to fullback.

The opening offensive play of the game was initiated by Rees-Zammit, who teamed up with George North and Faletau before the play stalled.

Following a counterattack by the young back three players, it was Rio Dyer’s chance to get the fans on their feet.

The visitors’ Boffelli penalty was the result of a more controlled approach by Argentina.

Referee Ben O’Keeffe from New Zealand gave many offside calls against Wales in the first quarter, and captain Tipuric was cautioned by O’Keeffe as Boffelli doubled Wales’ deficit.

As hooker Ken Owens was denied a try after dropping the ball over the line under pressure from Pumas prop Thomas Gallo, Wales regained their composure and pounded away at Argentina’s line.

The home team had a lot of time inside the opponent’s 20-yard line but unable to score before losing Lydiate to an arm injury and having to sub in Morgan.

On his 32nd birthday, Faletau scored a try after Wales opted to forego a kickable penalty in favour of a driving line-out.

It was just desserts for centres Nick Tompkins and North, who, with help from Faletau, set the stage with their straight, hard running.

At halftime, Wales led 10-6 thanks to a conversion and a penalty from Gareth Anscombe.

When opportunity presented itself, Rees-Zammit capitalised quickly by leading a second-half counterattack, and the home team’s lead was afterwards increased by a try scored by scrum-half Williams.

Williams intercepted a kick from Argentina’s Juan Cruz Mallia and ran it in for an easy touchdown.

The Pumas retaliated with a rush towards the Welsh goal line, but home lock Adam Beard forced a penalty turnover on his own line, and the Welsh team’s trademark Tipuric-inspired defence again kept the visitors out.

For the second week in a row, Pivac swapped out influential centre Sam Tompkins for the more steady Owen Watkin.

This time, after just 50 minutes, Rhys Priestland replaced Anscombe.

Under the closed roof at Principality Stadium, both teams were having trouble gaining traction.

Will Rowlands, a lock, was cautioned for a professional foul after playing the ball out of an Argentine’s hand at a ruck. This does not justify his actions.

Although the home team was reduced to 14 men, the Welsh defence held strong and Priestland kicked a penalty to keep the score at 0-0.

At the same time, replacement prop Tetaz Chaparro scored the Pumas’ first try after being driven over; Boffelli’s conversion brought the visitors within seven points.

Wales replaced Beard with Ben Carter because Alun Wyn Jones was left off the final roster of 23, but the substitution backfired.

Since Rowlands’ shoulder injury required him to leave the game, replacement hooker Ryan Elias was inserted into the back row, while Faletau switched positions to play lock.

Wales was able to cling on for a close but well-earned victory despite making a late change to their front lineup.

In a match that doubled as a birthday celebration, Taulupe Faletau showed why he’s one of the best players in the world at both ends of the field. Notable performances also came from captain Justin Tipuric, replacement flanker Jac Morgan, scrum-half Tomos Williams, and centre George North

Wales: Rees-Zammit; Cuthbert, North, Tompkins, Dyer; Anscombe, T Williams; G Thomas, Owens, D Lewis, Beard, Rowlands, Lydiate, Tipuric (capt), Faletau.

Replacements: Elias, R Jones, S Wainwright, Carter, Morgan, Hardy, Priestland, Watkin.

Argentina: Mallia; M Carreras, Moroni, De la Fuente, Boffelli; S Carreras, Bertranou; Gallo, Creevy, Gomez Kodela, Alemanno, Lavanini, Gonzalez, Kremer, Matera (captain).

Replacements: Ruiz, Tetaz Chaparro, Bello, Paulos, Isa, Morales, Talbornoz, M Orlando.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZR).

Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (RA), Andrea Piardi (FIR).

TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU).