Wales 40-6 Argentina
Injuries take gloss off Wales win
ESPN Staff
November 16, 2013
Mike Phillips' early score put Wales in control © PA Photos

Wales have been hit by a double injury blow before the dust has even started to settle on their record 40-6 victory over Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.

Despite their autumn campaign having only reached the halfway point, British and Irish Lions backs Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert had already been sidelined. And that list has now been extended with both of Wales' starting centres against the Pumas being hurt.

Cory Allen's Test debut ended with him suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder, while his midfield partner Scott Williams left the ground with his right foot in a protective boot amid suggestions of a toe ligament problem. Wales still have Tonga next Friday night and then Australia eight days later on their November schedule, and they are rapidly running out of midfield options.

"We think Cory's injury is a dislocated shoulder. It is a shame," Wales coach Warren Gatland said.

"And Scott Williams might have done a ligament in his toe. We are kind of a bit short at the moment. Owen Williams comes back into training next week, and we will see what the prognosis is with Scott."

Despite the latest injuries, Wales will take satisfaction from playing some sparkling rugby that secured a first autumn scalp since they defeated the Pumas four years ago.

Quality tries during the opening 25 minutes by scrum-half Mike Phillips and wing George North confirmed Wales' attacking ambition and intent that underpinned their performance. Number eight Toby Faletau added a touchdown midway through the second period before substitute hooker Ken Owens' score completed a miserable afternoon for an outclassed Pumas team.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny followed up his 100 per cent goal-kicking performance against South Africa last week with another impressive return - he booted 20 points from all four conversions and four penalties - as Wales comfortably passed their previous biggest against Argentina of 33-16. The Pumas could only muster two Nicolas Sanchez penalties in reply, and they looked a tired, often disorganised outfit on route to an eighth successive defeat this year.

"I think from a coaching point of view, we are pretty happy," Gatland added.

"We felt like there were a few chances we left behind, but apart from that, we finished things off. We started the game well, we were much better in the air and our scrum and lineout was excellent.

"We went in with the ambition of not conceding any tries, and we achieved that goal.

"We give the players a framework to work in, but that doesn't mean we want them stifled in any way to play rugby and to play what is in front of them.

"If they see opportunities to move the ball and challenge them, we want to encourage them do that. I thought we went out there with the ambition and intensity to put a good Championship team away."

Wales bounced back impressively from a 24-15 loss to South Africa seven days ago, and Gatland had particular praise for Scarlets number 12 Williams.

"Sometimes it takes players a while to settle into a position," Gatland said. "This campaign is great for Scott because he's got that chance to start.

"He had started the season well for the Scarlets, and today I thought it was an indication of well he played when Shaun (Edwards) said 'who got man of the match. Was it Scott or Toby'?

"We feel we know where we are going as a team. We feel confident as a team, building towards the World Cup, and we can see a lot more improvement too.

"It's nice to get a nice big tick. When you see things that you've worked on in the week happen on the pitch it's really positive."

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