Howley smoke! Wales head coach left 'disappointed, frustrated and annoyed'
18:33 GMT, 10 November 2012
Wales interim head coach Rob Howley admitted his side had been made to look lethargic by a battle-hardened Argentina after the Pumas claimed a stunning 26-12 win at the Millennium Stadium.
The Six Nations champions had led 9-6 at the break thanks to three Leigh Halfpenny penalties, with Felipe Contepomi slotting a penalty and Nicolas Sanchez landing a drop goal for the Pumas.
Turning the screw: Juan Imhoff scores a try for Argentina
Penalties: Halfpenny (7, 14, 27, 48)
Tries: Imhoff (54), Camacho (59)
Conversions: Sanchez (54, 59)
Penalties: Contepomi (4)
Drop goals: Sanchez (9. 52)
Halfpenny extended Wales' lead with a
fourth penalty early in the second half, but a penalty and drop goal
from Sanchez, plus converted tries for wings Juan Imhoff and Gonzalo
Camacho saw the visitors secure their second win over Wales in Cardiff,
11 years to the day after their first.
The defeat puts a major dent in
Wales' hopes of securing a top-four place in the world rankings ahead of
next month's 2015 World Cup draw, but they can have no qualms after
being exposed by Argentina.
And there looks set to be further bad
news for Howley with Jamie Roberts and Alun Wyn Jones picking up
injuries that put their involvement in the rest of the autumn series in
Feeding frenzy: Argentina's Martin Landajo releases the ball
The Pumas, for their part, look to
have quickly learnt the lessons of facing the All Blacks, Australia and
South Africa during their maiden Rugby Championship campaign, and a
frustrated Howley acknowledged the visitors appear to have moved their
game to a new level.
He said: 'I am disappointed, frustrated and annoyed because we know we are a better side than that.
'We talked about it being an arm wrestle for 50 minutes and we were 12-6 ahead but we looked one-paced.
Getting his kicks: Wales' Leigh Halfpenny (left) scores a penalty
'When you play Argentina, tempo, pace
and intensity are important but there is no doubt their experience and
exposure to the Rugby Championship has taken that Argentina side to
'They played the All Blacks, South
Africa and Australia over a six-week period and they have certainly
learned from that and we were exposed to it today and we very much came
Wales' chances were not helped when a
clearly concussed Roberts was helped off after a clash of heads with
Gonzalo Tiesi, while lock Jones was withdrawn with a shoulder problem
just before the break.
Going south: George North is tackled by Argentina's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (left)
Howley said: 'Jamie has a bump on the
head, it's a mild concussion to say the least. Alun Wyn has done his AC
(joint) so we will have to wait on the medical opinion for that but it
does not look good at this time and it will test our strength in depth
and these next three games are very important.'
Assistant coach Shaun Edwards pulled
no punches in his assessment of the performance, and felt Wales had
badly missed the injured trio of centre Jonathan Davies, prop Adam Jones
and flanker Dan Lydiate, as well as Roberts after he went off.
Double trouble: Manuel Carizza (third right) looks to offload under pressure from Tavis Knoyle (right) and Toby Faletau (right)
He said: 'I definitely thought the
impact from the Argentina bench was better than ours. We went into the
game with certain personnel missing and it showed quite dramatically in
the last half hour.
'Both starting centres from the Grand
Slam were missing, we had our number six and number three missing and
it showed, and we have to get the other players up to pace as quickly as
'But it was obvious there is a
disparity at the moment between our first-choice XV and the players who
have got those positions now.'
Chip 'n' chase: Martin Landajo (left) kicks past Tavis Knoyle (right)