Wayne Pivac: Wales’ win over Argentina is a step in the right direction

Wayne Pivac described Wales’ 20-13 Autumn Nations Series victory over Argentina as “a step in the right direction”.

Just a week after being destroyed 55-23 by New Zealand in Cardiff, when Wales conceded eight tries, they responded through an impressive display built on physicality and organisation.

And it came against a Pumas side that had claimed the scalps of New Zealand, England and Australia in the second half of this year.

“It was a very good response. We needed a response, and the pleasing part was we knocked them back for 80 minutes,” boss Pivac said.

“It was not the perfect performance, but it is a step in the right direction. There are still some discipline things to tidy up, but you couldn’t fault the effort.

“These boys were very keen to get out there and put some of the wrongs of last week right.

“It tells you something around the character of the team, because you judge a team’s character by its defence, normally.”

Wales v Argentina – Autumn International – Principality Stadium
Tomos Williams scored a try for Wales (Joe Giddens/PA)

Tries from number eight Taulupe Faletau, on his 32nd birthday, and scrum-half Tomos Williams saw Wales home.

Fly-half Gareth Anscombe kicked two conversions and a penalty, while Rhys Priestland added a second-half penalty as Wales turned the screw.

The only downside came with injuries to flanker Dan Lydiate and lock Will Rowlands, who were both forced off.

Pivac added: “Will Rowlands is a shoulder, so we will get a scan on that on Monday and we will know more then. Dan was an arm (injury), so we will know more about that next week.”

Wales v Argentina – Autumn International – Principality Stadium
Will Rowlands sustained a shoulder injury (Joe Giddens/PA)

Georgia are next up for Wales, followed by Australia, and Pivac said: “We are not going to make wholesale changes.

“We’ve got a game against Australia the following week, so we want to put out a side that can go again against Australia. We will see how we scrub up on Monday.

“We want to learn as much as we can in this window about the guys in the squad.

“Where we can, we will have a look. But certainly we have to make sure that we are building results as well. That’s very important to us.”

Wales v Argentina – Autumn International – Principality Stadium
Louis Rees-Zammit (right) earned the praise of Wayne Pivac (Joe Giddens/PA)

Pivac also had praise for Louis Rees-Zammit, who was switched from wing to full-back, making just a third start of his career in the number 15 shirt.

“It was his first Test match in the 15 jersey, and I think he did exceptionally well,” Pivac added.

“I thought first up, he made a pretty good fist of it.

“It is pleasing for us because 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.”

Reflecting on the performance and result, Wales captain Justin Tipuric said: “There is still a lot of improvement, but the great thing about this squad in the last 10 years or so is the character it shows.

“We knew we would have stick after last week’s performance, and rightly so.

“That is not what we are about, especially the way we got beaten, so to come out swinging against such a good physical Argentina side is something we are proud about.”

Argentina fell well short of hitting the heights they reached in beating England last weekend to claim their first victory at Twickenham for 16 years.

Pumas head coach Michael Cheika said: “I just think we lacked a bit of edge today. Our defence was solid, but I would have liked to see more pressure on the opposition.

“Their tries came from a maul and a charge-down. We lost the kicking game.

Michael Cheika walks on the pitch
Michael Cheika’s Argentina fell well short of hitting the heights they reached in beating England (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Even though we weren’t happy with how we played, we must have had half-a-dozen opportunities to score. We took one.

“A team like us needs to take those opportunities. We had our eye off the ball today and it costs you at this level.

“We were in the game, but our aim is to be more than that.”