The Welsh rugby union side need a remarkable upturn in fortune and discipline if they are to win this season’s second Test against Samoa on Friday.
Last weekend’s 26-12 collapse to Argentina continued Wales’ unflattering run of not having won an opening Test at home since 2000. On yesterday’s evidence, the 6 Nations Grand Slam winners may struggle to win any games in the next few weeks.
Argentina aren’t the team that they were a few years ago – they’re much better. It’s hard to believe that the Southern Hemisphere team has risen from nowhere to force their way into “The Championship”, a tournament that was previously only contested by rugby luminaries New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. It was in this recent competition that Argentina, although finishing bottom, held South Africa and should have beaten Australia. That might go some way to explain the rankings, too; the “emerging nation” are seventh in the IRB World Rankings, just one place behind a Welsh team that reached the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup and were Europe’s best nation earlier this year. I reckon that situation won’t last long following Wales’ shoddy performance on Saturday.
The first half wasn’t much of a contest for either side, punctuated mainly by kicks and a superb drop goal from Argentina. Both teams pushed on later on in the match, but luck and skill mainly fell on the tourists’ side. Wales’ big stars failed to create a meaningful defence and allowed the silky skills of the South Americans to penetrate their lines time and again. They were extremely lucky not to concede more, with big Argentinian overlaps creating at least one try for them. A decisive try at the end only rubbed salt into Wales’ misery, but the result was never in doubt after a while.
Wales’ next opponent is Samoa, who hammered Canada at the weekend (although who wouldn’t?). They’re a team that has been labelled as “brutal” with huge players and route one rugby. They’re supposedly also looking for “revenge” following Wales’ defeat of them at the World Cup. Despite a number of injuries, Wales need to win this one with a lot more difficult fixtures to come in December. The correct team needs to be picked, much better tactics and Wales just need a kick up the proverbial backside if they’re even going to be seeded for the 2015 World Cup.