6:20pm Friday 22nd June 2012
By Iwan Davies
WALES finished their excellent IRB Junior World Championship campaign on a high to claim third place in the tournament after a hard-fought win over Argentina at Cape Town’s famous Newlands Stadium.
Their hero was Newport Gwent Dragons new boy Tom Prydie, the wing kicking six out of seven penalties and converting a penalty try to end his day with a 20-point haul.
Wales won the game thanks to an incredible scrummaging performance in the first half which utterly destroyed the young Puma’s eight.
Traditionally the cornerstone of the Argentine game, Wales turned the tables on them, ex-Dragons forwards coach Danny Wilson, who has joined the Scarlets, having his pack extremely well drilled at the scrum.
And the South Americans’ woes were compounded when they were reduced to 13 men at one point for two very silly offences.
Their blindside flanker Joaquin Pedro Camacho was sin binned for kicking the ball out of scrum half Tom Habberfield’s hands a ruck in the 21st minute while lock Juan Cruz Guillemaín saw yellow just six minutes later for pulling opposite number Matthew Screech down in a lineout.
A near immaculate Prydie kept punishing Argentina with his boot from the stream of penalties they were conceding and they went into the interval 19-0 after the Pumas collapsed a scrum five metres out to concede a penalty try just before half-time.
The game was a drab affair, not helped by wet and windy conditions, and didn’t get remotely exciting until 12 minutes from the end.
Rarely threatened by an Argentina side low on skill and usually coughing up the ball after a handful of passes, an unadventurous Wales went to sleep in the second half.
But they were given a scare when the opposition started putting their game together when it was all but too late.
With Wales leading 25-3, Argentina number eight Facundo Isa crossed in the 68th minute, skipper Sebastián Poet converting to add to his penalty early in the second half.
A complacent Wales then allowed inside centre Juan Cappiello to score all too easily with eight minutes to go after some more lethargic defending, Poet’s conversion making it 25-17.
Wales were really made to sweat when replacement prop Gareth Thomas was yellow carded a minute later for not using his arms in a tackle.
But Wilson’s men held on comfortably enough to end a campaign that saw them take the scalp of New Zealand (9-6) and hammer both Fiji (44-18) and Samoa (74-3).
The only blot on the copybook was the Baby Blacks gaining revenge for their earlier defeat with a resounding 30-6 win over Wales in the semi-final last weekend.
Wales scorers: Try – Penalty try, Conversion – Tom Prydie, Penalties – T Prydie (6).
Argentina scorers: Tries – Facundo Isa, Juan Cappiello, Conversions – Sebastián Poet (2), Penalty – S Poet.
Argus star man: Tom Prydie
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