Patchell kicks 20 points as Wales pummel Pumas

Get my kicks: Aled Davies of Wales in action on Saturday
AFP

Santa Fe (Argentina) (AFP) – Fly-half Rhys Patchell kicked 20 points as Wales routed Argentina 30-12 in Santa Fe Saturday to complete a 2-0 rugby Test series victory.

The unexpectedly easy triumph for an experimental Welsh team completed a perfect Americas tour after earlier wins over South Africa in Washington and Argentina in San Juan.

Patchell succeeded with seven of nine shots at goal — six penalties and a conversion — as Wales cruised to success after building a 19-5 half-time advantage.

The only disappointment for the tourists was the late red-carding of outstanding number eight Ross Moriarty for grabbing Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez around the neck.

The Pumas were woeful as they suffered a 21st loss in 27 Tests since finishing fourth at the 2015 World Cup in England.

They were expected to perform much better given virtually the entire national side play for Jaguares, who have won their last six Super Rugby matches, including two in New Zealand.

Argentina flopping in a 23-10 first Test loss last weekend did not dampen enthusiasm, though, with 27,000 supporters flocking to Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez.

But they had little to cheer early on as a Welsh team showing five changes from San Juan quickly stamped their authority on a clear, crisp afternoon. 

Patchell slotted penalties after nine and 16 minutes to give the tourists a six-point lead before his third shot at goal drifted narrowly wide.

Wales were dominating possession and territory despite coach Warren Gatland fielding an experimental team that included two openside flankers in James Davies and Ellis Jenkins.

Patchell indirectly set up the first Welsh try on 23 minutes when his long, stray pass was picked up by winger Josh Adams just millimetres from the touchline in the middle of the pitch.

Adams, a late injury-induced call-up to the squad, then cut in and powered past several Pumas to touch down for a great solo try which Patchell converted.

Another two Patchell penalties and the Welsh were cruising with a 19-point lead as Argentina barely threatened to score in front of a subdued home crowd.

With half-time fast approaching, the Pumas finally sprung to life when Bautista Delguy scored his first try after outpacing winger George North.

Sanchez, the leading points scorer at the 2015 World Cup, failed to convert, leaving Argentina 14 points behind at the break.

If Argentine supporters thought the team had to improve on their showing in San Juan, they were sadly mistaken during the opening 40 minutes.   

They played into the hands of Patchell with constant ill discipline, being blown up for scrum infringements and straying offside, and also committed numerous handling errors.

After Patchell kicked another penalty to open the second-half scoring, frustrated Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade replaced skipper and hooker Agustin Creevy.

Recalled scrum-half Martin Landajo soon followed to the bench, but there was no stopping Wales and another Patchell penalty stretched the lead to 20 points with 52 minutes gone.   

Hallam Amos scored the second Welsh try on 56 minutes after slick handling and after Moriarty was sent off, Pumas substitute hooker Julian Montoya scored and Sanchez converted.

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