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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 19:42 GMT 20:42 UK
Argentina 27-25 Wales
FIRST TEST
Mark Jones opened the scoring for Wales but it was not enough
Argentina: (20) 27:
Tries: Leguizamon, Piossek, Leonelli.
Cons: Todeschini 3.
Pens: Todeschini 2.
Wales: (12) 25:
Tries: M Jones, Evans, Hook.
Cons: N Robinson 2.
Pens: N Robinson 2.
Att: 15,000
Gareth Jenkins saw his first match in charge of Wales end with a narrow first Test loss to Argentina on Sunday.

His inexperienced side took the lead in Puerto Madryn, with tries from Mark Jones and Ian Evans bracketing a Pumas score from Juan Manuel Leguizamon.

But two sin-binnings left the visitors short-handed, Argentina wing Jose Maria Nunez Piossek making them pay.

A Francisco Leonelli try sealed the home side's win, with James Hook's late effort not quite enough for Wales.

Despite the strong Welsh links in Puerto Madryn - it was founded by Welsh settlers in 1865 - Wales had never played a Test before in the Patagonia region of Argentina.

But after a warm welcome last week, the hospitality ended when Wales crossed the whitewash at the Raul Conti Stadium.

Wales made an early statement of intent by spurning a third-minute penalty kick in favour of an attacking five-metre line-out.

Hooker Matthew Rees' wayward throw-in spoilt any hopes of a drive, but Wales managed to recycle possession.

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Slewing back left, Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips spotted Mark Jones in space, and his long pass sent the Scarlets wing into the corner for an unconverted try.

The Pumas hit back straight from the kick-off, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe charging down an attempted clearance from Phillips.

The blindside flanker rampaged on and tried to find a team-mate with a pass, only for it to bounce forward off Phillips over the tryline.

Openside flanker Leguizamon just managed to touch down before crossing the dead-ball line, with Frederico Todeschini's conversion giving Argentina the lead.

A breathless opening 11 minutes continued as Wales lock Evans grabbed a try on his international debut.

The 21-year-old Osprey intercepted Agustin Pichot's pass in midfield and loped 45 metres upfield to go under the posts, Nick Robinson converting.

But then Wales lost forwards Gavin Thomas and Alix Popham in quick succession.

Thomas drew a yellow card from referee Alain Rolland for trying to slow down Argentine ball, Todeschini converting the resulting penalty.

Then Wales found themselves down to 13 men, when Popham followed his back-row colleague into the sin-bin.

As Wales creaked from a five-metre scrum, Argentina broke down the blindside, and Pichot's flick pass sent right wing Piossek in at the corner.

Todeschini struck a fine touchline conversion and then added his second penalty deep in first-half injury time to give Argentina a 20-12 lead.

Soon after half-time Hook come on to win his first cap, replacing a woozy Matthew Watkins, with the 21-year-old Neath tyro having only just signed professional forms with the Ospreys in April.

Wales lock Ian Evans lopes away for an interception try on debut
Wales lock Ian Evans lopes away for an interception try on debut

Wales were unlucky not to add a third try after a fine tap-and-go by Phillips had split the Argentina defence.

But Robinson struck two penalties in quick succession to draw the tourists to within two points, the second after Pumas prop Rodrigo Roncero was sin-binned.

Wales wing Shane Williams was starting to find spaces out wide, but a trio of searing breaks fizzled out for lack of support.

Richard Hibbard came on at hooker to win his first cap for the tourists, with Bath back-row Gareth Delve adding another set of fresh legs.

But Argentina had their own reserves, penning Wales back in their own 22 before replacement Leonelli found a gap three minutes from time to score the decisive try.

Todeschini added the flourish, converting the score from the Edinburgh Gunners back to give Argentina a 27-18 lead.

That seemed to be it for Wales, but Jamie Robinson managed one last clean break to send Hook, showing great strength, under the posts for a seven-pointer.

But the clock was against the tourists and Argentina managed to hold onto their two-point lead.


Argentina: Juan Martin Hernandez (Stade Francais, Fr); Jose Maria Nunez Piossek (Bayonne, Fr), Gonzalo Tiesi (London Irish, Eng), Rafael Carballo (Toulon, Fr), Lucas Borges (Stade Francais, Fr); Federico Todeschini (Beziers, Fr), Agustin Pichot (Stade Francais, Fr; capt); Rodrigo Roncero (Stade Francais, Fr), Mario Ledesma (Clermont Auvergne, Fr), Martin Scelzo (Clermont Auvergne, Fr), Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe (Sale Sharks, Eng), Rimas Alvarez Kairelis (Perpignan, Fr), Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Liceo Naval), Juan Manuel Leguizamon (London Irish, Eng), Gonzalo Longo (Clermont Auvergne, Fr).
Replacements: Marcos Ayerza (Newman), Pablo Gambarini (CASI), Santiago Sanz (CASI), Martin Schusterman (Leeds Tykes, Eng), Nicolas Fernandez Miranda (Hindu), Francisco Leonelli (Edinburgh Gunners, Sco), Federico Serra Miras (SIC).

Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Mark Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), Jamie Robinson (Cardiff Blues), Matthew Watkins (Llanelli Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Nicky Robinson (Cardiff Blues), Mike Phillips (Cardiff Blues); Duncan Jones (Ospreys, captain), Matthew Rees (Llanelli Scarlets), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Ian Gough (Newport Gwent Dragons), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Gavin Thomas (Llanelli Scarlets), Alix Popham (Llanelli Scarlets).
Replacements: Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Rhys Thomas (Newport Gwent Dragons), John Yapp (Cardiff Blues), Gareth Delve (Bath Rugby), Andy Williams (Bath Rugby), James Hook (Ospreys), Chris Czekaj (Cardiff Blues).

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).



SEE ALSO
Jenkins hails gritty young Wales
11 Jun 06 |  Internationals


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