Saturday 25 March 2017

Jones helps Welsh win back pride

Wales 24 Argentina 20

Alun Wyn Jones of Wales and Matias Alemanno of Argentina battle for lineout ball. Photo: Getty
Alun Wyn Jones of Wales and Matias Alemanno of Argentina battle for lineout ball. Photo: Getty

James Corrigan

Wales needed it, Robert Howley needed it, and, yes, the Welsh public demanded it. But with his fellow heavyweights back at his side, there can be even less doubt that Alun Wyn Jones warranted it.

This was a success carved in the honour of Wales's emotional talisman. There was no more notable contribution than that of the indefatigable lock. He would never say so, but for Jones, the man-of-the-match award would have meant so much after the death of his father two weeks ago. A rugby man, Tim Jones would have enjoyed this ­ bounce-back win after the 32-8 ­embarrassment against Australia.

Gareth Davies scores a try. Photo: Getty
Gareth Davies scores a try. Photo: Getty

Wales had started so poorly the week before and, at the very least, they can take heart that they finished this fortnight on a positive note, with Japan and South Africa to come. For Howley, it was the first time that he had led Wales to win against southern hemisphere in seven attempts as a stand-in coach.

They were pretty awful early on yesterday, best signified by a pathetic penalty when at least four Welshmen were offside when Dan Biggar sent up an up-and-under that took his own team more by surprise than the opposition.

By that stage, Argentina had assumed an advantage with a Nicolas Sanchez penalty. But after the Biggar botch, Sanchez could not extend it further and soon Leigh Halfpenny was on customary target to calm home pulses with two penalties to give Wales their first lead of the autumn.

Wales were due a try and, more to the point, Williams was due and he jinked and squirmed his brilliant way over three minutes after the restart.

Leigh Halfpenny kicks a conversion. Photo: Getty
Leigh Halfpenny kicks a conversion. Photo: Getty

Biggar had made the initial break, but five minutes later he was bizarrely appealing to the referee after Juan Martin Hernandez had dived on Martin Ladajo's kick through, after the quick-witted scrum-half had taken a snap penalty.

From appearing comfortable, Wales were suddenly only a point ahead. Yet their pack once again set up scrum-half Gareth Davies to beat three defenders.

Landajo fully warranted his try on the hour, but Halfpenny applied the sure-booted Valium and Jenkins was allowed his celebration.

Wales: L Halfpenny; G North, J Davies, S Williams, Liam Williams; D Biggar, G Davies; G Jenkins (capt, N Smith 63), K Owens (S Baldwin 46), T Francis, L Charteris, AW Jones, S Warburton, J Tipuric, R Moriarty.
Argentina: J Tuculet (J De la Fuente 36); M Moroni, M Orlando, JM Hernandez (S Gonzalez Iglesias 75), S Cordero; N Sanchez, M Landajo (T Cubelli 63); L Noguera (S Garcia Botta 50), A Creevy (capt, J Montoya 66), R Herrera (G Petti, 71), M Alemanno, P Matera (L Senatore 63), J Ortega Desio, F Isa.
Referee: A Gardner (Australia).

Wales' Dan Biggar is tackled by Ramiro Moyano of Argentina. Photo: Getty
Wales' Dan Biggar is tackled by Ramiro Moyano of Argentina. Photo: Getty

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