Wayne Pivac expects his Wales players to be severely tested against Argentina

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Wayne Pivac expects his Wales team to be “tested across the board” against Argentina in Cardiff next Saturday.

The Guinness Six Nations champions warmed up for Tests on successive weekends against the Pumas by scoring 10 tries in a 68-12 Principality Stadium rout of Canada.

Pivac handed international debuts to five players – including two-try substitute Taine Basham – but he also saw full-back Leigh Halfpenny carried off on his 100th Test match appearance for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

Wales v Canada – Summer Series 2021 – Principality Stadium
Leigh Halfpenny is treated after being injured against Canada (David Davies/PA)

Halfpenny suffered a knee injury and he will undergo a scan to gauge its full extent, with the 32-year-old seemingly set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Wales have won their last four Tests against Argentina, yet Pivac’s men can expect a major challenge, especially after the Pumas beat New Zealand last year and drew twice with Australia.

“We needed a game,” Pivac said. “To go in cold against a side that has drawn twice against Australia and beaten the All Blacks, you have to respect that team.

“They are a serious Tier One nation now, and for this young team to go up against a side like that is exactly what we need.

“It will show them how much hard work they need to put in if they want to play at this level on a regular basis.

“We will need to step it up across our whole game, really. It (Canada performance) has highlighted a few things for us that we will go away and work on. We will be tested across the board.”

In the expected absence of Halfpenny, Hallam Amos, Ioan Lloyd and Owen Lane could all be in the mix to replace him, along with Jonah Holmes, who moved from wing to full-back and scored two tries against Canada.

Pivac is without 10 players on the Lions tour in South Africa, but there were a number of impressive displays, highlighted by Basham, Holmes and Wales’ second-row pairing of Ben Carter and Will Rowlands.

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Carter, 20, called the lineouts on his Wales debut, while former Wasps lock Rowlands was a commanding presence before making way for second-half substitute Josh Turnbull.

“If Will Rowlands had stayed on, you could have picked either him or Ben for man of the match,” Pivac added.

“I am thrilled for Ben. It’s the first time he has played a professional game in front of his family!

“We gave him the extra workload in terms of calling the lineouts. We wanted to put him under pressure, and he did very well. It bodes well for the future.”

Wales v Canada – Summer Series 2021 – Principality Stadium
Wales lock Ben Carter shone against Canada (David Davies/PA)

Wales’ first home crowd since February last year – an attendance of just over 6,000 was 2,000 under the sanctioned capacity – made its presence felt as Pivac’s side produced some strong attacking work.

“It sounded a lot more than that,” Pivac said. “Clearly, the fans enjoyed being back.

“We were really eager to see how the guys would go and see how they combined. It wasn’t the start (to the game) that anyone wanted (with Halfpenny), but the reaction to that was good.

“To have 40 points in the bank by half-time, you have to be relatively pleased.

“We knew there would be mistakes, and there were. We will look at that and pull out the learnings for individuals and for the group as a whole.”

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