Pumas See Red In Cardiff Draw

504 days ago I drove away from Cardiff, after France had beaten Wales in the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, I assumed I would return a few weeks later to cover Wales v Scotland, but we all know what happened next.

17 months away from your homeland, and indeed The Principality Stadium, is far too long, but people have made far worse sacrifices during this horrific pandemic.

To see those glorious red shirts run out on to the green green grass of home once again was an emotional moment, and to hear the national anthem, even with a small chorus of 7,828 was truly heavenly.

Saturday was very definitely a big cat day with Wales facing the Pumas in the Welsh capital, and The Lions continuing their COVID ravaged tour in South Africa.

Wales started brightly, but against the run of play, Argentina got the first points of the game on the board thanks to the boot of Nicolas Sanchez who converted a penalty for a three-point lead.

Almost immediately Wales cancelled out Argentina’s advantage through the boot of Callum Sheedy.

Wales edged in front through another Sheedy penalty for a 6-3 lead.

In what what was a decisive moment in the game, Argentina full-back Juan Cruz Mallia was shown a red card for making direct contact to the head of Wales scrum-half Kieran Hardy.

Four minutes from half time, Argentina levelled the scores as Sanchez struck over his second penalty of the match.

Then on the stroke of half time Argentina scored the first try of the game through Pablo Matera who went over from close range to give Argentina a 13-6 lead going into the break.

After the late first half blow, it was important for Wales to start the second half strongly but it was the Pumas who pounced first as they scored their second try of the match.

From a scrum in the Welsh 22, Jeronimo de la Fuente went over unopposed and Sanchez landed the conversion to give Argentina a 20-6 lead.

Wales reacted strongly and got back in the game through second row Will Rowlands who charged over from close range after taking a pass from replacement scrum-half Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans converted to put Wales within seven points.

Wales upped the tempo and after some sustained pressure deep inside the Argentina half, Tomos Williams broke from a scrum to to score, Evans conversion levelled the scores.

With eight minutes remaining Argentina missed their third penalty of the afternoon, and in the final seconds Evans missed a long kick at goal that would have sealed a victory for Wales, perhaps undeservedly.

Wales made far too many errors but will be all the better for the experience of facing a gnarly Pumas side twelve of whom ply their trade in France’s Top 14.

The two teams meet again next Saturday in a match that will decide the series.

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