San Juan (Argentina) (AFP) – Coach Warren Gatland says Wales are in a “really good space at the moment” after his experimental team shocked Argentina 23-10 in San Juan this weekend.
The Dragons’ triumph over the Pumas followed a 22-20 victory against South Africa in Washington last weekend.
Six Nations championship runners-up Wales complete their end-of-season travels in Santa Fe next weekend with another Test against Argentina.
Gatland made eight personnel changes for the clash with a Pumas outfit that had 14 starters from the Jaguares team that won their last six Super Rugby matches.
His gamble paid off as a mix of brilliant defending and clinical finishing gave Wales a 17-3 half-time advantage they never seem likely to surrender during the second half.
“We feel like we are in a really good space at the moment. Welsh rugby is in a good place. We are really looking forward to the next 12 to 14 months before the World Cup,” said Gatland.
“I thought it was a fantastic performance from the boys. We were under a bit of pressure in terms of territory and possession.
“But we spoke before the game about how important our defensive performance was going to be. The guys fronted up.
“That is what we asked of them and as a coaching team, you cannot ask for more than that, when the guys deliver for you and they put their bodies on the line.
“They gave everything so it was a really pleasing performance for us,” said New Zealand-born Gatland.
Argentina needed 78 minutes to score their sole try with substitute loose forward Tomas Lezana powering over the line from close range.
Flanker James Davies, who scored the first Welsh try early in the first half after a superb offload from full-back Hallam Amos, received special praise from the coach.
“James was great today as was Ellis (Jenkins) last weekend. We are blessed at the moment with the quality of the loose forwards we have got.
“It is a good position to be in, particularly when we have got a couple of great forwards who are not even here.”
Gatland left most of the Welsh stars who toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions last season at home to rest.
“I think the boys who sat at home watching on TV have probably got a few headaches. It is a good position to be in, when you have got a lot of competition for places.”
Wales also salvaged some pride for the northern hemisphere after Six Nations champions Ireland, France and England fell to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa respectively.
Argentina play a one-off Test against Scotland in Resistencia on June 23 after the Wales series.