Flying start vital for Wales

First published in Sport South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

THREE Test wins is the target that Wales have set themselves this autumn – but start sluggishly against Argentina and those hopes will be in tatters after just 80 minutes.

With the mighty All Blacks heading to Cardiff in round three of four, there is no room for error for Sam Warburton and his side.

The heat is on from the first whistle and Wales cannot afford to be left in the blocks like they are so frequently.

Wales have not had an opening autumn Test success since Romania were beaten in 2002 and today’s opponents fancy their chances of extending that horror streak.

The Pumas have been licking their lips at the prospect of bullying a Wales pack deprived of talisman tighthead Adam Jones and defensive demon Dan Lydiate.

Argentina head into the game fresh from the Rugby Championship where they drew with South Africa and left New Zealand and Australia bruised and battered.

But now they want a win – and the Pumas sense Welsh weakness while Lions head coach Warren Gatland takes a back seat.

The hope is that Wales will have too much quality for their visitors; that the strike runners of George North, Leigh Halfpenny and Alex Cuthbert will run amok under the Millennium Stadium roof.

But any gnarled forward will tell you it starts up front and Wales must stand up to a formidable Argentine pack.

The set piece must be solid and the powerful Pumas must be stopped on the gain line. Do that and Wales can build up a head of steam this autumn.

But if Wales fall short, just as they did three times in Australia this summer, then it will be a long, long month.

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