Wayne Pivac to focus on breakdown ahead of Wales’ second Argentina Test

Wales will target the breakdown and their ball-carrying as critical areas for improvement when they chase a Test series victory over Argentina next Saturday.

The Guinness Six Nations champions were left frustrated by those key performance elements after drawing 20-20 with the Pumas in Cardiff.

Argentina saw full-back Juan Cruz Mallia sent off following a dangerous head-high challenge on Wales scrum-half Kieran Hardy with more than 50 minutes remaining, but the home side could not capitalise on their numerical advantage.

Wales v Argentina – Summer Series 2021 – Principality Stadium
Will Rowlands scores a try for Wales against Argentina (Ashley Western/PA)

They trailed by 14 points until almost midway through the second half, before tries from lock Will Rowlands and scrum-half substitute Tomos Williams – both converted by Jarrod Evans – salvaged a share of the spoils.

Given that Wales were without 10 players on British and Irish Lions duty in South Africa – and Argentina started with nine of the team that toppled New Zealand in November – it was a reasonable result.

But head coach Wayne Pivac identified below-par aspects, while there were also injuries suffered by number eight Aaron Wainwright and centre Willis Halaholo that forced them off and will require assessment.

“In the breakdown area we were too loose, and at times we were too slow in getting to our ball-carriers,” Wales boss Pivac said.

“The breakdown is an area of the game where we knew Argentina were strong, and we paid the price there a few times.

“It will be interesting to see how we go in that area next week. It clearly hampered us throughout the game.

“We were our own worst enemies. We will go away, look at that and make sure we are a lot better in our ball-carrying.

“We will tend to look at it from a negative point of view after a draw, because everyone wants to win it, but there will be some good stuff there and good effort.

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“We just have to make sure we build on the good, and eradicate some of the things that were costly.

“Neither changing room, for different reasons, would have been celebrating that result. I don’t know any side that has celebrated a draw.”

Hallam Amos, who made just his seventh start at full-back in a 24-cap Wales career, was one of the shining lights after replacing an injured Leigh Halfpenny.

And he has already set his sights on Wales preserving an unbeaten record against Argentina next weekend that stretches back across five Tests to 2012.

Wales v Argentina – Summer Series 2021 – Principality Stadium
Argentina full-back Juan Cruz Mallia leaves the field after being sent off (Ashley Western/PA)

Amos said: “It’s a great opportunity for us. They are a fantastic side and we know now what they are going to bring.

“We had not played them since 2018, so sometimes it’s hard to see what a team is going to bring, but now we know and they will know what we bring.”

And reflecting on Wales’ failure to capitalise after Argentina went down a player, he added: “After the red card the game becomes a little bit scrappy.

“Especially Argentina, because they play on such emotion, that it almost works in their favour a little bit. We just spoke about keeping calm, not changing our game-plan, but I think it took a little bit of time to adapt to that.

“That comes with the inexperience we had in the side. But we will have learnt lessons from that, and moving forward, boys will be in a far better position to go on and win games like that.”