Wales draw 20-20 with 14-man Argentina

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Tomos Williams goes over for Wales
Tomos Williams helped Wales fight back with this try after coming on as a replacement
Wales (6) 20
Try: Rowlands, Williams Cons: J Evans 2 Pens: Sheedy 2
Argentina (13) 20
Tries: Matera, De la Fuente Cons: Sanchez 2 Pens: Sanchez 2

Replacement fly-half Jarrod Evans missed a last-gasp penalty as Wales drew with Argentina, who were reduced to 14 men, for the first time.

Pumas full-back Juan Cruz Mallia was shown a red card after 29 minutes for a reckless tackle on Kieran Hardy.

The Pumas were trailing 6-3 at the time, but rallied through tries from Pablo Matera and Jeronimo De La Fuente and the boot of Nicolas Sanchez.

Tries from Will Rowlands and Tomos Williams helped Wales level the scores.

Evans lined up the long-range effort in the final minute, but it went wide after Argentina had also missed three penalty attempts. The two sides will meet in the second Test in Cardiff next Saturday (15:00 BST).

Wales were indebted to the 47th-minute introduction of replacement half-backs Tomos Williams and Evans, who helped change the game’s complexion after Argentina had dominated the contact area.

It was always going to be a tough test for a Wales side with 10 players away on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa and also without injured duo Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric.

Argentina beat New Zealand for this first time in November 2020 and had nine starters, including six in the forwards, from that side in the XV to face Wales. The Pumas also drew twice with Australia last year.

Argentina boss Mario Ledesma made six personnel changes to his side from the team that defeated Romania 24-17 last time out.

Wales made three alterations to the team who thrashed Canada 68-12, with Hallam Amos, Owen Lane and Kieran Hardy starting for the injured Leigh Halfpenny and demoted Tom Rogers and Williams.

This two-Test series was due to be played in South America, but was switched because of Covid-19 with the Welsh anthem unusually played first in Cardiff as Argentina were officially the home side.

In a frantic opening, Wales number eight Aaron Wainwright made a dynamic burst before a towering Amos catch from his own kick set up an attacking chance the home side squandered.

A missed long-range penalty effort from Callum Sheedy was compounded by the Wales fly-half, who produced an ambitious 22 drop-out and then conceded a penalty which Sanchez slotted over.

Sheedy made amends by slotting to level the scores before handling errors from both sides halted the game’s early momentum.

Wales lost Wainwright through injury and the hosts’ ball-carrying ability suffered. Josh Turnbull came on as a replacement and made an immediate impression with a turnover penalty.

Sheedy kicked his second penalty before Argentina wing Santiago Carreras suffered a nasty head injury trying to tackle Turnbull from the kick-off.

English referee Matthew Carley yellow-carded opposing props Dillon Lewis and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro for persistent scrummaging offences with Leon Brown and Facundo Gigena introduced.

The chaos continued when Cruz Mallia was red carded after his head connected with Hardy following a reckless challenge as the Pumas full-back chased his own kick.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Argentina rallied and Sanchez levelled the scores. Matera then powered over from concerted forward pressure for Sanchez to convert to set up a 13-6 half-time lead.

Wales lost centre Willis Halaholo to injury early in the second half to be replaced by Nick Tompkins and Argentina took advantage of the midfield confusion.

De La Fuente capitalised from a scrum move for the second try as Argentina scored 17 unanswered points despite being a player light.

Pivac tried to change things by switching his half-backs with Cardiff duo Williams and Evans replacing Sheedy and Hardy.

The pair helped improve the tempo and Dragons lock Will Rowlands powered over for his second try in successive games which Evans converted.

Sanchez missed two long-range penalty efforts before scrum-half Williams sniped over for a try straight from a scrum, with Evans levelling the match with the conversion.

Argentina replacement fly-half Domingo Miotti pulled a penalty attempt wide before Evans’ failed effort in the dying moments.

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.

Red card: Juan Cruz Mallia 29

Match officials

Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU)

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

TMO: Claire Hodnett (RFU).



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