Wayne Pivac believes that Wales underlined considerable strength of character after they went toe-to-toe with Argentina and revived their Autumn Nations Series campaign.
Wales’ physicality was questioned when New Zealand horribly overpowered them seven days earlier, running in eight tries and scoring 55 points.
Argentina’s heavyweight pack would have targeted similar collision-based dominance, but Wales repeatedly knocked them back during an arm-wrestle of a Test match at the Principality Stadium.
— Autumn Nations Series (@autumnnations) November 12, 2022
“Rugby players, anywhere in the world, my experience is when they are challenged around physicality, you normally get a response,” Wales head coach Pivac said, following a 20-13 victory.
“The boys were very keen to get out there and put some of the wrongs of last week right, and we could not fault that defensive effort.
“The players kept coming forward over the 80 minutes, and there are some big boys there (in the Argentina team) that have caused the top teams in the world a lot of problems in the last 18 months, in particular.
“It tells you something around the character of the team because you judge a team’s character by its defence, normally.”
Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau added: “It is a physical game, and if you are not physical you will get found out.
“And that was the case last week. It wasn’t good enough.”
Pivac, meanwhile, highlighted the contributions of scrum-half Tomos Williams and full-back Louis Rees-Zammit to what was only Wales’ third victory this year following wins against Scotland and South Africa.
Williams scored one of Wales’ two tries, while Gloucester wing Rees-Zammit excelled on only a third start of his career in the number 15 shirt.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 12, 2022
“Tomos got the 80 minutes (against Argentina) because he is playing so well,” Pivac said.
“We just felt that he needed to stay out there, and it is a good confidence-booster for him. Everything we asked him to do during the week he delivered on.
“I thought he marshalled the forwards really well, because with the effort they put in they would have been tiring at times, and he led from the front with his actions and also his voice.
“What Louis brings, obviously, is express pace so if there’s a bit of a dog-leg (in the opposition defence) if you don’t bring that chase-line up, he can hurt you.
“Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny have dominated that jersey for a good part of 10-12 years probably, so to have Louis step up and play the way he did, it’s great for us and gives us more depth.”
Georgia are next for Wales in their autumn programme, which provides a dress-rehearsal ahead of next year’s World Cup pool meeting in Nantes.
Pivac says he will not be making wholesale changes, but two are likely to be forced on him with lock Will Rowlands and flanker Dan Lydiate both suffering injuries against Argentina.
Rowlands has a shoulder problem and Lydiate hurt his arm, making them doubts to face Georgia and final autumn series opponents Australia.