Key Clash Preview and Prediction: Wales v Argentina

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This Saturday, Argentina will make the trip across the Severn Bridge to take on a wounded Welsh outfit. Both sides lost their first fixture of the autumn internationals last weekend and will be desperate to leave the Millennium Stadium with nothing less than a win.

Wales are looking to avoid their third loss on the bounce, but after a strong performance against the mighty power of the Springboks, Warren Gatland’s men will be confident that they can beat an Argentinean side that are without a win in their last seven games. Los Pumas know that an eighth straight defeat will result in their worst losing streak in their history.

Wales have come out on top in nine out of the 14 previous meetings between the two sides, but they will not have forgotten their last defeat at the hands of the visitors, when they were beaten 26-12 in their own back yard last November.

Wales

Wales are looking to bounce back after being edged out by South Africa in a brutal contest at the Millennium Stadium last Saturday. Gatland has made four changes to the starting line up that took on the Springboks. Cory Allen has been called up to make his Test debut in the centres. The 20-year-old will replace the injured Jonathan Davies despite having made only 10 senior regional appearances. He will line up outside Dan Biggar who is set to take over from Rhys Priestland at fly half.

Rhodri Jones replaces Adam Jones at prop after Jones suffered a calf injury in last weekend’s defeat. The Scarlet will pack down with Richard Hibbard and Gethin Jenkins, who will earn his 100th international cap.

Justin Tipuric returns to the back row in the absence of Dan Lydiate, after making an outstanding defensive contribution last week. The Osprey made eight tackles, coming off the bench, in just 17 minutes. He will take over at seven as Sam Warburton moves to the blind side. Lydiate’s chop tackles brought Warburton into play against South Africa, but the inclusion of Tipuric should provide Wales with plenty of attacking impetus. Scarlets prop Samson Lee could make his international debut as he has been called up to the bench along with Ryan Jones.

Argentina

Daniel Hourcade has made four changes to the side that were comfortably beaten by England. Santiago Cordero is set to make his first international start after making his debut at Twickenham last weekend. He replaces Juan Imhoff who was forced off with injury in the first half of the England defeat after an impressive start.

Manuel Carizza has been called up to bolster the second row – he will join the veteran Patrico Albacete while Martin Landajo is set to make a return at scrum half. He replaces Tomas Cubelli who drops to the bench. There is also a place in the starting XV for Joaquín Tucelet who will take Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino’s place at full back. Worcester Warriors flanker Leonardo Senatore has been called up to the bench along with Gabriel Ascarate and Tomas Lavanini.

The pride of the Puma pack, the front row, remains unchanged and after causing England a few headaches in the scrum, prior to the introduction of Alex Corbisiero, and Marcos Ayerza and company will fancy their chances against the Welsh – especially with the inclusion of 21-year-old Rhodri Jones, who has only two international caps to his name.

All eyes on

At just 19 years of age, Santiago Cordero is already the proud owner of an impressive highlight reel (see below), having torn apart defences with his scintillating pace and nimble feet at junior level and on the sevens circuit. And while George North is more than capable of dealing with the teenager, if he gives him an inch, Cordero will glide through the Welsh defence without hesitation.

Richard Hibbard was in his element in last Saturday’s arm wrestle with the Springboks. He carried with malice and hammered everything in a green shirt. This week, against a (slightly) less physical Argentinean outfit, he will look to resume his role as the enforcer and lead the Welsh charge as he always does, head first.

Head to head: Toby Faletau v Juan Manuel Leguizamón

Both teams are reliant on the consistency of their No 8s. The ever-impressive Toby Faletau always manages to force his way across the gain line and rarely takes a backward step in defence, but he will be tested when he goes toe to toe with Juan Manuel Leguizamón. The Argentine captain was outstanding at Twickenham. He was tenacious in defence and gallant in attack, overshadowing his opposite man, the promising young Billy Vunipola. But this weekend, Leguizamon faces Vunipola’s stronger and older cousin, in what promises to be an epic clash between two of international rugby’s most prominent juggernauts.

Prediction

If Wales play with a fraction of the tempo and ferocity with which they took on the Springboks, Argentina will be blown away. Despite the inclusion of some inexperienced backs, Wales are more than capable of putting away an Argentinean side that are out of form and on the end of a morale-crushing losing streak. Argentina will not roll over, but unless they can disrupt the Welsh set piece, which they will target, it is hard to see how they can come out on top. Wales are battered and bruised, but they are well prepared and determined to get back to winning ways. Wales by 15.

By Nathan Hyde (@NathanHyde2)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

5 thoughts on “Key Clash Preview and Prediction: Wales v Argentina

  1. That’s a very good preview, glad you picked out Hibbard as a key man. He’s turning into one of our most offensive weapons.

    This being Wales in the autumn I am unable to have any confidence in a victory. We should beat them but then we should have won lots of Autumn matches that we didn’t. I predict a narrow defeat followed by a prolonged period of national soul searching. Then hopefully it all comes good again in the spring.

  2. Ah Brighty you disappoint me :( . I believe Wales will really be up for this one & will have too much for the Argies, Sam & Tips work very well together & this could be key.
    Looking forward to seeing Corey Allen step up to the mark, he’s going to be a massive asset over the next 10 years or so. Agree that the scrum might be a problem with such an inexperienced player in the front row but I think we are better for sure everywhere else. As has been said, if Wales play with the intensity they showed last week I think they will win comfortably.
    Wales by 10-12

  3. Yup, agree with most of these comments, including the good article. As Brighty says, Wales can so often be their own worst enemies in these Autumn games. But I believe there is no chance that they won’t be up for this one – there’s too many players with serious points to prove. Obviously the two ‘new boys’, Jones and Allen; but also George North, who simply didn’t get enough ball last week; Scott Williams, who will have been frustrated by the lack of space – he’s such a talented player, and we should see more of him tomorrow; Dan Biggar, who will want to put the heat on Rhys P., who, contrary to many opinions, I thought went ok last week.
    As far as Allen goes, I’m hugely excited to see him in. He could be very, very special; just hope we see some signs of it tomorrow. And even more important, bearing in mind the shortage of good tight-heads, is how Rhodri J gets on. If he survives for, let’s say, 50 nins, and manages to hold his end up, there will be lots of excitement in the Welsh camp. With young Sam undoubtedly the business, to have a couple of youngsters coming through for the WC squad in 2015 would be a huge boost.
    Let’s hope for a good, convincing win. Will we get it? Hmmmmm……

  4. whilst I think Wales will win this one, if Argentina from the second half against England show up, they could cause problems in what is a pretty inexperienced Welsh back line, other than North, HP and Phillips. And who’s to say whether this whet Mike “Big match player” Phillips.

    Plus how much will they miss AJ up front? People assuming that Wales will have same intensity as last week, I’m not so sure. It’s bound to have taken something out of them. 15 points seems quite generous, but who knows.

  5. I can’t see Argentina turning this round here. All that we heard in last years AIs was that playing the top teams in Rugby Championship for two months had improved well this year its seen them getting walloped four games out of six… even by Australia…at home.

    Still wont be a stroll in the park, but I reckon Wales will stretch a lead in last 20.

    I hope Cory Allen sees some ball at speed on the outside, hes got a great dummy and plenty of pace. Gatland please don’t just use him as a battering ram, he might be a big lad but he doesn’t have the enormous oversize skull of Jamie Roberts. Dan Biggar can’t have a better chance to nail the place for Australia and 6N if he does well in this game.

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