Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wales too much for Los Pumas

Despite dominating the first 20 minutes of the match at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff, Argentina were defeated 28-13 by Wales on Saturday in the sides final match for Rugby World Cup 2011. Wales´s recent matches vs England and the Barbarians were clearly visible as the Welsh were well organized and the players seemd to understand each other very well. Argentina, in contrast played some good rugby and did work well together but it was evident that the side lacks match-time together and also that the side is going to need to play better rugby at the World Cup if the side is to make the play-off´s.

Captain Felipe Contepomi scored the first points of the match with a penalty goal but it was too late as all of Argentina´s impressive work in the first 30 minutes only resulted in three points. Contepomi had a bad day with the boot as he missed his first attempt and in general play he was an inside centre wearing the flyhalf´s 10 shirt. The loss of Juan Martín Hernández was clear but cannot be an excuse as simply Argentina need to add a cutting-edge in attack. Wales, were able to withstand the pressure and end the half with two tries. The first being scored by backrower, Andy Powell and the second by winger George North. On both occasiosn Wales scored on the left wing side of the field.

Argentina made half-time substitutions in an attempt to return to the dominance of the opening 30 minutes with Martín Scelzo replacing Juan Figallo at tighthead prop and debutant Juan Imhoff entering for Gonzalo Camacho. Both players had an impact on Argentina´s attack with Scelzo adding size around the park and Imhoff adding speed as he was used to attack channels in the Welsh defense around the centre of the field. Both likely did their chances a favor and Scelzo was the player to score Argentina´s try as he carried the ball to the try line in a rolling maul to score Argentina´s only try with five minutes left on the clock. Earlier in the half winger George North had scored his second try of the match to underlçine his credentials as a likely starter vs South Africa in Wales´ tough first fixture of Rugby World Cup 2011.

Despite the scoreline not looking so good for the South Americans there were a number of positives, especially in the forwards with Manuel Carizza causing Wales all kinds of problems in the lineouts as he stole Welsh throw-ins. Juan Manuel Leguizamón was the best player on the field in the first quarter of the match as he was visble on both sides of the field as a ball carrier and support player. Rodrigo Roncero was impressive as he got through plenty of work but recieved penalties as time went on. It is debatable wtheer or not he´ll start vs England or whether Marcos Ayerza will be the loosehead prop. Scrumhalf Nicolás Vergallo has his best match in Pumas colors for quite some time as he provided the backs with good ball, organized the forwards well and made good yards with ball in hand. Mario Ledesma had a worrying match with his throwing and was replaced early in the secondhalf by Agustín Creevy who was able to leave his mark on the game with a superb performance as a hooker, especially as a ball carrier as he made plenty of yards through semi line-breaks.

With less than three weeks before New Zealand 2011 begins and both teams playing on the opening weekend there is plenty of reason to suggest Argentina and Wales´ matches vs England and South Africa will be competitive affairs. Los Pumas, despite not being able to attack as well as desired have nonetheless improved significantly from the form shown in November 2010 and the last time Los Pumas faced England the English won by 9 points with a one try win vs a Pumas side missing over half of the first XV.
Wales

15 Lee Byrne (Clermont, France)
14 Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues)
13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets)
12 Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues)
11 George North (Scarlets)
10 James Hook (Perpignan, France)
9 Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets)
8 Andy Powell (Sale Sharks, England)
7 Martyn Williams captain (Cardiff Blues)
6 Dan Lydiate (Newport-Gwent Dragons)
5 Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys)
4 Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues)
3 Adam Jones (Ospreys)
2 Richard Hibbert (Ospreys)
1 Paul James (Ospreys)

Replacements

16 Huw Bennett(Ospreys)
17 Ryan Bevington (Ospreys)
18 Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys)
19 Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)
20 Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues)
21 Stephen Jones (Scarlets)
22 Aled Brew (Newport-Gwent Dragons)

Argentina

15 Martin Rodriguez Gurruchaga (Stade Français, Argentina)
14 Gonzalo Camacho (Exeter Chiefs, England)
13 Marcelo Bosch (Biarritz, France)
12 Santiago Fernandez (Montpellier, France)
11 Horacio Agulla (Leicester Tigers, England)
10 Felipe Contepomi captain (Stade Français, France)
9 Nicolás Vergallo (Toulouse, France)
8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (Toulon, France)
7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón (Lyon OU, France)
6 Julio Farías Cabello (Tucumán)
5 Patricio Albacete (Toulouse, France)
4 Manuel Carizza (Biarritz, France)
3 Juan Figallo (Montpellier, France)
2 Mario Ledesma (Unattached)
1 Rodrigo Roncero (Stade Français, France),

Replacements

16 Agustín Creevy (Montpellier, France)
17 Martin Scelzo (Agen, France)
18 Mariano Galarza (Unattached)
19 Alejandro Campos (Unattached)
20 Agustín Figuerola (Brive, France)
21 Nicolás Sánchez (Bordeaux-Begles, France)
22 Juan Imhoff (Duendes)


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