Jenkins leads the plaudits for Wales’ style

WALES’ greatest Test match kicker Neil Jenkins led the applause after Shane Williams and company did their utmost to prove running rugby is not extinct.

There were inevitable bouts of so-called aerial ping-pong but Wales also lived up to their billing among the sport’s great entertainers.

Argentina certainly had no answer, brushed aside 33-16 as Wales posted their record win for the fixture.

Williams twice weaved his magic at the Millennium Stadium, reaching 50 tries in Wales and Lions colours, while out-half Stephen Jones’ audacious opportunist score compounded Argentina’s sense of bewilderment.

And it left Neil Jenkins, the only player to amass more than 1,000 points for Wales, purring.

“I am a fan of rugby, as well as being a coach and a former player, and I want to see attacking rugby,” said Wales’ current skills coach.

Jenkins though, also accepts the kick-chase-territory formula is an approach teams cannot ignore. “We try to play a lot more rugby,” he added.

“But sometimes a kick is coming to you, you’ve only got two or three players and the opposition has seven or eight. What do you want us to do? I am not a fan of it – I like to see attacking kicks, a variation of kicks. You are going to have a bit of ping-pong, but there has only got to be so much of it.

“We are not the only side that does it. Probably the best two sides in the world – New Zealand and South Africa – kick more than anyone else. But the reality is if we go down a route of everyone running and playing, it will be back and for like a yo-yo because there will be just one line and no kicking. There has got to be a balance.”

Having made a total of 17 line-breaks in their previous autumn games against New Zealand and Samoa, and scored one try – ironically, from a cross-kick – Wales at last found some freedom.

And it was all sparked by Jones, whose quick tap-penalty saw him run 30 metres unopposed to Argentina’s line after the Pumas wrongly assumed he would kick for goal.

Jones added two penalties and three conversions, with his all-round excellence again underlining that in terms of astute game management he has few northern hemisphere peers.

Argentina’s expected threat, especially through their revered scrummaging unit, never materialised. And although Wales at times laboured before moving away from their opponents on the scoreboard, the 15th victory of head coach Warren Gatland’s 21-Test reign was never seriously in doubt.

The win also leaves them in good shape for a full-scale tilt at Australia in their autumn finale next Saturday.

Wales scorers: Tries: S. Jones, S. Williams 2. Cons: S. Jones 3. Pens: S. Jones 2, Halfpenny 2.

Argentina scorers: Tries: Rodriguez. Cons: Rodriguez. Pens: Rodriguez 3.

WALES: Hook, Halfpenny, J. Roberts, Davies, S. Williams, S. Jones, Cooper, Jenkins, Rees, P. James, A. Jones, Charteris, Powell, M. Williams, R. Jones.

Replacements: Bishop for Davies (73), T. James for S. Williams (73), Peel for Cooper (66), Bennett for Rees (68), D. Jones for P. James (57), Thomas for Charteris (68).

ARGENTINA: Agulla, Borges, Tiesi, Rodriguez, Comuzzi, Fernandez, Figuerola, Roncero, Ledesma, Scelzo, Sambucetti, Albacete, Leonardi, Abadie, Fernandez Lobbe.

Replacements: San Martin for Tiesi (76), Urdapilleta for Comuzzi (71), Ayerza for Scelzo (66), Carizza for Sambucetti (63), Campos for Abadie (71).

Referee: G Clancy (RU).

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