CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Wales halted a run of five straight rugby losses by holding out for a 24-20 win over Argentina on Saturday, marking an impressive comeback from its chastening defeat to Australia last weekend.
Winger Liam Williams and scrumhalf Gareth Davies scored tries early in the second half for the Welsh, who then kept the Pumas at bay thanks to two penalties from fullback Leigh Halfpenny.
Wales led 6-3 at halftime and kept it tight in the final 20 minutes to close out the game, showing a massive improvement defensively from the 32-8 rout by the Wallabies — its heaviest loss in more than a decade.
"We turned into the great entertainers today," Wales lock Alun-Wyn Jones said, sarcastically.
Argentina arrived in Cardiff having racked up a half-century of points in a win against Japan but was strangely subdued, scoring tries through Juan Martin Hernandez and scrumhalf Martin Landajo with rare forays into the Welsh 22. The Pumas have lost five of their last six matches against Wales.
Williams, a standout performer on the left wing, put Wales 11-3 up in the 43rd when he received the ball 20 meters out and raced through two tacklers before barging through Nicolas Sanchez to get across the line.
Hernandez replied five minutes later, latching onto Landajo's grubber kick to dive over from Argentina's first try-scoring chance of the game.
In a see-saw second half, Davies sniped over from the back of a ruck to restore Wales' eight-point lead in the 55th, only for Landajo to score a similar try at the other end in the 61st.
Halfpenny and Sanchez exchanged penalties, but Wales controlled the tense closing stages.