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Wales v Argentina: Pumas provide stern summer test for Wayne Pivac’s side

Hallam Amos scored a try in Wales' Test series win over Argentina in 2018
Hallam Amos scored a try in Wales’ Test series win over Argentina in 2018
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 10 July Kick-off: 13:00 BST
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, live text on BBC website; highlights on BBC 2 Wales and iPlayer from 21:00 BST.

Wales might have eased to a 68-12 win over Canada last weekend, but Argentina’s arrival in Cardiff for a two-Test series will present a different proposition for Wayne Pivac’s side.

Forget about the Pumas’ unconvincing 24-17 win over Romania last weekend. That was just a warm-up.

In November 2020, Argentina beat New Zealand for the first time in their history and drew twice with Australia as they finished second in the Tri-Nations tournament behind the All Blacks.

This is despite the south Americans having limited preparation in 2020 because of Covid-19, with players having little game exposure compared to their illustrious opponents.

This 2021 summer series was meant to be in Argentina, but was switched to Wales because of the pandemic, with the second game on 17 July also being played at Principality Stadium.

Wales last faced Argentina in 2018 when they travelled to south America for a two-Test series in which they won both games.

That series will also be remembered for Wales back-rower Ross Moriarty being sent off in the final moments of the 30-12 second Test win in Santa Fe.

Moriarty reacted to an off-the-ball push in his back and continued to hold Argentina outside-half Nicolas Sanchez around the neck, despite being told to let go by the match officials. Both players are in the starting sides this time around.

Historically, Wales have had the advantage against Argentina with 13 wins to five. They will hope to continue that over the next week.

What they say

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac: “It is a big step up. For them (against Romania), that would have been a hit out to bring their squad together. They come from a lot of different areas.

“We’re not too fazed by that particular performance, it’s really looking at what they’re capable of.

“We know that only too well looking at their matches against Australia and New Zealand. We’re expecting a very committed and capable side to be taking part on the weekend.”

Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma: “We did not take the opportunities that we had against Romania. We had 22 opportunities in their 22 from which we converted four of them.

“This is something very critical and the opportunities against Wales will be far fewer.”

Team news

Wales have made three changes to the side which thrashed Canada, with Hallam Amos, Owen Lane and Kieran Hardy all starting against Argentina.

One alteration is enforced after full-back Leigh Halfpenny suffered knee ligament damage in the opening minute of his 100th international, with Amos handed the 15 jersey.

Cardiff Blues wing Lane comes in for his third Test match at the expense of Tom Rogers, while scrum-half Hardy starts with Tomos Williams dropping down to the replacements bench. Fly-half Jarrod Evans comes onto the bench after recovering from an ankle injury.

Argentina boss Mario Ledesma has made six changes to his side for the clash, with an additional positional alteration.

In the front row, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro and Francisco Gómez Kodela replace Francisco Gigena and Enrique Piereto, while Guido Petti replaces Tomas Lavanini in the second row, and Facundo Isa comes in for Francisco Gorrissen in the back row.

Juan Cruz Mallia and Santiago Carrera are the only personnel changes among the backs, with Santiago Cordero switching from full-back to wing.


Wales: Hallam Amos; Jonah Holmes, Willis Halaholo, Jonathan Davies (capt), Owen Lane; Callum Sheedy, Kieran Hardy; Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee, Dillon Lewis, Ben Carter, Will Rowlands, Ross Moriarty, James Botham, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Gareth Thomas, Leon Brown, Josh Turnbull, Taine Basham, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Nick Tompkins.

Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia; Santiago Carreras, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Santiago Cordero; Nicolas Sanchez, Tomás Cubelli; Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya (capt), Francisco Gomez Kodela, Guido Petti, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera, Facundo Isa, Rodrigo Bruni.

Replacements: Facundo Bosch, Facundo Gigena, Santiago Medrano, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Gonzalo Bertranou, Domingo Miotti, Santiago Chocobares.

Match officials

Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU)

Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (RFU), Karl Dickson (RFU)

TMO: Claire Hodnett (RFU).

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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