Can Wales beat Argentina this afternoon?(credit: ezioman
With only two tries from two games so far this autumn the main problem for Wales appears to be putting away chances and recapturing the magic of their 2005 and 2008 Grand Slams, although they are still clear favourites (2/9 Bet365) to triumph over Argentina.
The withdrawal of Tom Shanklin and subsequent inclusion of young Jonathon Davies in the centre may go some way to remedy that problem. Davies’ selection means that powerhouse centre Jamie Roberts moves a step wider to outside centre and the Lions star, having found himself a marked man at inside centre recently, may find a yard of room to exploit. Roberts can be backed at 14/1 (Paddy Power) to make the most of this potential extra space and score the game’s first try.
While some might see the lack of tries as Wales’ greatest issue another possibly bigger problem is on the horizon – the Pumas front row. Although widely renowned as the best scrummagers in international rugby, Wales coach Warren Gatland has dismissed this threat, even claiming that the Australia scrum is better.
Gatland made similar pre-match outbursts against Ireland and, more recently, New Zealand and ended up losing both those games.
Argentina are 10/3 (William Hill) to triumph on Welsh soil for the second time in six attempts but will find the going tough without key playmakers Juan Martin Fernandez and Felipe Contepomi. If Argentina are to come away victorious then fly half Santiago Sanchez will have to have a better day with the boot than he did against England last week where his success rate was 50%.
Although Argentina put in a creditable performance at Twickenham they didn’t really trouble the scoreboard or England’s line too often. Wales should win but by how much may well depend on whether their backs can make the most of the chances that come their way. If they do a comfortable win by 11-15 points (11/2 Paddy Power) could be on the cards, if not a win by 1-5 points (13/2 William Hill ) would find Wales hanging on by their fingernails as they did against Samoa last week.
Wales: 15 James Hook, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Jamie Roberts, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Ryan Jones (c), 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Andy Powell, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Alun-Wyn Jones, 3 Paul James, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Jonathan Thomas, 19 Dan Lydiate, 20 Dwayne Peel, 21 Andrew Bishop, 22 Tom James.
Argentina: 15 Horacio Agulla, 14 Lucas Borges, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Martin Rodriguez, 11 Mauro Comuzzi, 10 Santiago Fernandez, 9 Agustin Figuerola, 8 Juan Fernandez Lobbe (c), 7 Alfredo Abadie, 6 Tomas Leonardi, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Mariano Sambucetti, 3 Martin Scelzo, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Alberto Vernet Basualdo, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Manuel Carizza, 19 Alejandro Campos, 20 Alfredo Lalanne, 21 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 22 H San Martin.