By Paul Jones
Justin Tipuric has admitted Wales were rightly trashed after their thrashing by the All Blacks and it fuelled their defiant victory over Argentina.
The Wales captain gave an honest assessment of the criticism he and his squad received after the defeat to New Zealand – in which they leaked eight tries – and revealed how the players used it as motivation to overcome a dangerous Pumas team, 20-13.
“We knew last week we’d have a lot of stick and rightly so, but this just shows the character in the team to bounce back,” said Tipuric.
“Last week was not what we are about. The boys stood up today and put everything right. Argentina are such a good team and we could have let them steamroller over us like last week.
“But we came out fighting, met them head one, and came away with a win.
“We made it hard work in the end and we know we’ve got to sharpen up on a few things and put another performance in next week against Georgia.”
Head coach Wayne Pivac also hailed the character of his Wales squad after a hard-fought victory.
— Trebanos RFC U16s (@BanosU16s) November 12, 2022
Tries from player of the match Taulupe Faletau and Tomos Williams along with 10 points from the boots of Gareth Anscombe and Rhys Priestland got Wales over the line.
Overcoming a Pumas side who had recently beat England and the All Blacks was no mean feat, and Pivac was delighted with the effort from his side, especially in defence.
“It was a very good response,” he said. “The boys were challenged in terms of the physicality we felt we lacked last week.
“We needed a response. The pleasing part was we knocked them back for 80 minutes.
“Other than the try, we contained them very well, which is a credit to the work done in the week. Rugby players, anywhere in the world, my experience is when they’re challenged around physicality, you normally get a response.
“These boys were very keen to get out there and put some of the wrongs of last week right. We can’t fault that defensive effort tonight. The boys kept coming forward over the 80 minutes and there’s some big boys there that have caused the top teams in the world a lot of problems in the last 18 months in particular.
“So, I was really pleased with that effort. It tells you something around the character of the team because you judge a team’s character by its defence normally.”
Pivac had made the exciting decision of selecting Louis Rees-Zammit at full-back for only the third time in his professional career. And the former Scarlets coach was impressed with how the Gloucester man applied himself while he was also happy with the performance of lively scrum-half Williams.
Just getting round to Morgans impact.
I’ve never seen this kid having a poor game. Pivac LYING that he’s not big or strong enough said more about Pivac. https://t.co/PiQHDhi1ai
— Ron Swanson 🇵🇸 (@RonSwanson145) November 12, 2022
“It’s his first Test match in the 15 jersey and I think he did exceptionally well,” said Pivac when asked about Rees-Zammit.
“What Louis brings obviously is express pace so if there’s a bit of a dogleg, if you don’t bring that chase line up, he can hurt you like he did at the start of the game.
“He’s also got a big kicking game which you saw tonight. I thought first up, he made a pretty good fist of it.
“So it’s pleasing for us because Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny have dominated that jersey for a good part of 10-12 years probably, so to have Louis step up and play the way he did, it’s great for us and gives us more depth.
“It’s been a bit of a mixed bag with injuries, but Tomos got the 80 minutes tonight because he’s playing so well. We just felt he needed to stay out there, it’s a good confidence booster for him. Everything we asked him to do during the week he’s delivered on.
“I thought he marshalled the forwards really really well because the effort they put in, they would have been tiring at times and he led from the front with his actions and also his voice. I’m very pleased that he had such a good game.”
Wales face Georgia at the Principality Stadium next Saturday before finishing their Autumn Nations Series against Australia a week later. And Pivac insists he will not make wholesale changes for the visit of the Eastern Europeans.
“We’re not going to make wholesale changes,” he said. “We’ve got a game against Australia the following week and some boys have to go back to clubs and there are a few injuries.
— David Nicholson (@davidnicholson2) November 12, 2022
“So, we want to put out a side that can go again against Australia. We will how we scrub up on Monday.
It was not a game that will live long in the memory, but head coach Pivac is at a stage where the fundamentals of grit, determination and organisation needed to be shown.
After a sloppy start, Wales displayed those battling qualities as they came from 6-0 down with tries from the ever classy Fualetau and livewire Williams.
Anscombe converted both, and he and replacement Priestland added a penalty apiece to keep Argentina – jubilant winners over England at Twickenham last week – at arms’ length.
Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro gave the Pumas’ hope when he went over with 10 minutes remaining, but Wales held firm to stop a run of three successive home defeats.