Wales and Pumas expect better 2nd test after extra week
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — For instigating Wales’ comeback draw against Argentina last weekend, halves Tomos Williams and Jarrod Evans were rewarded with starts in the second test on Saturday at Principality Stadium.
Argentina led 20-6 with 14 men last Saturday when Cardiff teammates Williams and Evans were sent in to replace Kieran Hardy and Callum Sheedy. Williams set up their first try and niftily scored the other, while Evans converted both to tie the score. He missed a late long-range penalty for the win.
“Both those players had strong games when they came on,” coach Wayne Pivac said. ”(We want) more of the same.”
Pivac said he doesn’t have 27 players to choose from, either because they’re with the British and Irish Lions, injured or rested. He’s using the three summer tests like he did the Autumn Nations Cup, for developing depth. But he was still frustrated that his second-string side badly wasted a man advantage for the last 50 minutes. His verdict after the 20-20 draw was Wales was its own worst enemy.
Argentina didn’t surprise him. The Pumas were better in the breakdowns and scrums, their kicking game exerted pressure, and their defense was excellent. Even so, Wales had plenty of chances in Argentina’s 22 but was thwarted by penalties, knock-ons, poor passes or lack of support.
“For some of this group,” Pivac said, “it was the first time they have faced that level of physicality and intensity and this week we will need to be much more accurate and disciplined.”
Before that first test, he made three changes, limited to the backline. This time he’s made seven. Leon Brown and Gareth Thomas are the new props and flanker Josh Turnbull has replaced the injured Aaron Wainwright.
The backline has the new halves, Nick Tompkins starts in midfield, and Tom Rogers is back on the wing for a second cap. Front-rowers Sam Parry and Rhodri Jones were in the reserves for their first appearances of the summer, and Dragons lock Matthew Screech could make his debut at 28.
Argentina made two changes, one enforced after fullback Juan Cruz Mallia was banned for three matches for a high tackle on Hardy last weekend.
Santiago Carreras moved to fullback, Matias Moroni went into the vacant wing, and Bautista Delguy was on the other wing for Santiago Cordero. Scrumhalf Felipe Ezcurra and utility back Juan Imhoff were brought into the reserves.
With a third week together to bind after months apart, coach Mario Ledesma expected a better and more united performance.
Argentina: Santiago Carreras, Bautista Delguy, Santiago Chocobares, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Matias Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez, Tomas Cubelli; Rodrigo Bruni, Facundo Isa, Pablo Matera, Guido Petti, Marcos Kremer, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya (captain), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Reserves: Facundo Bosch, Facundo Gigena, Santiago Medrano, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Felipe Ezcurra, Domingo Miotti, Juan Imhoff.
Wales: Hallam Amos, Owen Lane, Nick Tompkins, Jonathan Davies (captain), Tom Rogers, Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Ross Moriarty, James Botham, Josh Turnbull, Will Rowlands, Ben Carter, Leon Brown, Elliot Dee, Gareth Thomas. Reserves: Sam Parry, Rhodri Jones, Dillon Lewis, Matthew Screech, Taine Basham, Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy, Uilisi Halaholo.
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