Prop Ayerza hails Argentina win

Wales 12 Argentina 26

The last time Argentina managed it 11 years ago their team included world stars like Agustin Pichot, Federico Mendez and captain Lisandro Arbizu.

And while the Pumas’ current crop boasts established world-class performers such as Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Juan Martin Hernandez and Juan Manuel Leguizamon, they also showcased exciting fresh talent.

Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez scored 13 points – including two drop-goals – in a 26-12 Millennium Stadium victory, while wing Juan Imhoff scored a brilliant opening try.

The only low point for Argentina was talisman centre Felipe Contepomi’s early departure due to a knee injury. The 35-year-old, who has won 79 caps, left the ground on crutches and it is likely his Test match career is now over a fortnight before he was expected to formally retire from international rugby.

Argentina, fresh from their debut season in the Rugby Championship alongside New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, posed numerous problems for a lethargic Wales team. Although the Pumas trailed 9-6 at half-time and Contepomi had already left the action on a stretcher, they went up a gear in the second period, scoring 20 points and performing with an intensity that Wales could not handle. “We didn’t have control of the game in the first-half,” Leicester forward Ayerza said.

Scorers for Wales: Pens: Halfpenny 4.

Scorers for Argentina: Tries: Imhoff, Camacho. Cons: Sanchez 2. Pens: Contepomi, Sanchez. Drop Goals: Sanchez 2.

WALES: L Halfpenny, A Cuthbert, Scott Williams, J Roberts (J Hook 23), G North, R Priestland, T Knoyle (M Phillips 56), G Jenkins (R Bevington 68), M Rees (R Hibbard 60), A Jarvis (P James 60), Alun Wyn Jones (R McCusker 39), I Evans, J Turnbull, S Warburton (J Tipuric 70), T Faletau.

ARGENTINA: JM Hernandez (H Agulla 45), G Camacho, G Tiesi, F Contepomi (J Tuculet 14), J Imhoff, N Sanchez, M Landajo (N Vergallo 66), M Ayerza (B Postiglioni 78), E Guinazu (A Creevy 48), J Figallo (J Gomez Kodela 66), M Carizza, J Farias Cabello (N Vallejos 64), JM Fernandez Lobbe, JM Leguizamon, L Senatore (T Leonardi 56).

Referee: Romain Poite (France).

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