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Later this afternoon Wales will take on Argentina in the second match of their 2016 autumn test series. As I blogged about last Monday, we got thoroughly thrashed 32-8 by Australia in our opening match. I sincerely hope that we can put on a better display against Argentina; really nothing except a win will satisfy the Welsh fans.

There are six changes in all from the team that started against Australia, with perhaps the most noticeable change being Jamie Roberts, who has been dropped to the bench with Jonathan Davies back from the tight hamstring he sustained just before kick-off last week to partner his Scarlets team mate Scott Williams. Sam Warburton is back in the  Welsh side, but Gethin Jenkins retains the captaincy. Alun Wyn Jones returns after missing last week’s  match due to the death of his grandfather.

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Wales will play Argentina at 17:30 in the second of their 4-match autumn test series. Last Saturday we lost 32-8 to Australia, so today is a must-win match.

Meanwhile, elsewhere the other autumn tests kick-off with a vengeance. At 14:30 England take on South Africa in Twickenham, to see if they can retain their 100% record under Eddie Jones. At the same time, Scotland take on Australia in Murrayfield, and Ireland take on Canada in Dublin with a 19:15 kick-off. New Zealand have, at least on paper, an easy match against Italy, with a 14:00 (GMT) kick-off, and finally France take on Samoa with a kick-off at 16:45 (GMT).

What a feast of rugby!

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It was Wales’ first Autumn test victory since 2009, a convincing 40-6 demolition of Argentina. It was even sweeter after the battering we suffered last Saturday from South Africa in losing 24-15.



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The Wales coaching team will be delighted with this performance. We dominated in all aspects of play. Most pleasing to me was (a) keeping Argentina from scoring a try and (b) the good support running whenever a Welsh player made a break. This was something that was lacking against South Africa last weekend. It was a marked improvement by the Wales team, we even scored a try from a rolling maul which is no mean feat against Argentina. How do Wales gauge beating Argentina by this convincing score? The last time Argentina won an international was against Wales in Cardiff last Autumn, when they beat us 26-12. Here are Argentina’s results since that game of last year.


Argentina’s results since beating Wales last November
Month Teams Score
November 2012 Wales v Argentina 12-26
France v Argentina 39-22
Ireland v Argentina 48-24
June 2013 Argentina v England 3-32
Argentina v England 26-51
August 2013 South Africa v Argentina 73-13
Argentina v South Africa 17-22
September 2013 New Zealand v Argentina 26-13
Australia v Argentina 14-13
Argentina v New Zealand 15-33
October 2013 Argentina v Australia 17-54
November 2013 England v Argentina 31-12
Wales v Argentina 40-6



What can we take from this? Well, Wales’ victory is as heavy a defeat as pretty much any side has inflicted upon Argentina in this last year. In addition, Argentina nearly beat Australia in September away from home, only going down 14-13, and gave South Africa a good run for their money in August at home, only losing 17-22. So, I think Wales should take great pride from beating a team who are clearly no pushover, and to beat them in such convincing fashion is even better.

It is sobering to think that this was Wales’ first victory in an Autumn international since we beat Argentina in 2009. In 2010 we managed a draw against Fiji and losses to New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. In 2011 we only played one “Autumn” test as it was the Rugby World Cup, we played Australia in December and lost. And, of course last year we lost all four Autumn internationals in a rather dismal fashion.

Wales have a game against Tonga on Friday, before the big game against Australia on Saturday the 30th. That is the big game for Wales this Autumn series. Realistically, we were not expecting to beat South Africa, but if we don’t manage to beat Australia then I think the Welsh players, coaching team and supporters will consider the 2013 Autumn series to have been a failure. Beat Australia, and we will go into the 2014 Six Nations with confidence that we can retain the title for an unprecedented third year in a row!

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With November approaching, it is almost time for the annual tradition of the Wales rugby team playing 4 autumn test matches. This year, Wales have the following fixtures:


Wales’ autumn tests, 2012
Date Country Record (Played/Win/Loss/Draw)
Saturday 10th November Argentina 13/7/5/1
Friday 16th November Samoa 7/4/3/0
Saturday 24th November New Zealand 27/3/24/0
Saturday st December Australia 29/10/18/1


Of course, Wales are reigning Grand Slam champions, and have been playing some superb rugby since August 2011. They were very unlucky not to get to the 2011 rugby World Cup final, narrowly losing to France 8-7 in the semi-final after having their captain Sam Warburton sent off early in the match.


Wales winning the 2012 Grand Slam.


Realistically, I think anything less than a 3-1 win ratio in the 2012 Autumn series will be disappointing. We have to beat Argentina and Samoa, but also we need to win one of the two last games, either against New Zealand or Australia. Of these two, I think we are more likely to beat Australia. This prediction is partly based on coming so close to beating them in 2 of the 3 test matches Wales played in Australia this last June, but also because we have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953!!

In all, Wales have played the All Blacks on 27 occasions. Amazingly, when Wales last beat NZ, in 1953, it was only the 4th test match between the two countries, and in winning that test Wales were 3-1 up in the series, with wins in 1905, 1935 and 1953 and only one loss in 1924. Since then, it has been all one-way traffic, with Wales losing 23 matches in succession!

We have come close to beating them on a couple of occassions. One of those is the match in 1978, when the dominant Welsh teacm of the 1970s should have beaten them, and would ahve beaten them if it had not been for some cheating by NZ. With just minutes on the clock, the score was 12-10 to Wales. NZ secured a line out about 30 metres from the Welsh tryline. In the ensuing line out, the NZ second-row forward Andy Haden came flying out of the line and onto the ground. The referee, without hesitation, awarded NZ with a penalty. Except TV footage showed that no-one had pushed Haden, he had dived out of his own accord to cheat get just that decision from the referee. Haden himself finally admitted that it was a professional dive in an interview. NZ converted the penatly, and won the game 12-13.



From an article in The Independent, about Andy Haden of New Zealand confessing to his deliberate dive in the 1978 match against Wales.


What are your predictions for this Autumn series?

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