WALES suffered a Test series defeat to Argentina after a shambolic performance in sweltering conditions in Cardiff.

Wayne Pivac’s men shared the spoils with the 14-man Pumas in the first Test at Principality Stadium but were comprehensively outplayed in round two.

The Six Nations champions were indisciplined and inaccurate against direct, physical ‘hosts’ in the series that was switched from South America.

Pivac challenged his squad to give him selection headaches for the autumn in the absence of Wales’ Lions. Nobody had a stormer.

Dragons number eight Ross Moriarty carried manfully but the Welsh pack were overpowered and the half-backs lacked control.

The handling was horrendous, the aerial game was awful and kicking was poor – if anything the 33-11 defeat could have been an awful lot worse.

The summer has provided positives with a number of bright talents given a first taste of Test rugby – notably Dragons lock Ben Carter and flanker Taine Basham – but this was a day of negatives and lessons to be learnt for fringe players if they are to put heat on Pivac’s first teamers.

It has been a long season, one that started for most when the 2019/20 campaign was finished last August, and this was not a good way to sign off.

South Wales Argus: Owen Lane powered over for a tryOwen Lane powered over for a try

Argentina wasted a glorious opportunity to open the scoring when fly-half Nicolas Sanchez missed a routine penalty and they were behind in the eighth minute.

Wales ran back a kick to work space for Owen Lane down the right and the Cardiff winger finished superbly with power and pace.

The lead didn’t last long after the restart was knocked on to allow the Pumas to hammer away before Leicester back Matias Moroni matched the effort of Lane with a strong finish, Sanchez adding the extras for a 7-5 lead.

An indisciplined start by Wales could have been punished further after 19 minutes but, after penalties were kicked to the corner, scrum-half Tomas Cubelli lost control of the ball as he reached for the line.

Sanchez put Argentina 10-5 up from the tee and then converted after Cubelli made no mistake with his second attempt from close range.

Jarrod Evans chipped into the deficit with a penalty in front of the posts but the Pumas were more than good value for a 17-8 half-time lead.

The mistakes kept coming from both sides after the resumption and Wayne Pivac attempted to pep up his tight five with replacements after 48 minutes.

South Wales Argus: CHARGE: Ross Moriarty carried hard for WalesCHARGE: Ross Moriarty carried hard for Wales

That meant a debut for Dragons stalwart Matthew Screech, heading to Cardiff next season, and the end of the afternoon for his former teammates Elliot Dee and Leon Brown.

Wales were back in sight of the Pumas with half an hour left when Evans slotted over a penalty only for more sloppiness to allow Sanchez to respond in kind after 56.

The hosts had to chase the game a man down when full-back Hallam Amos clattered into Santiago Carreras in the air, the interference of Cubelli providing mitigation to ensure the former Dragon saw yellow rather than red.

Wales kept racking up the penalties and a late tackle by Dragons flanker Taine Basham, making his third appearance off the bench of the summer, led to Sanchez making it 23-11.

It was dire stuff with the unforced errors flowing from the Six Nations champions despite the bench being emptied.

A booming Sanchez effort from inside his own half struck the left post, keeping Welsh hopes (just) alive but the clock was not their friend.

And the defeat was rubber-stamped with four minutes left when Sanchez slotted over after a scrum penalty then the knife was twisted at the death when flanker Pablo Matera crashed over from close range.

Wales scorers: try – O Lane; penalties – J Evans (2)
Argentina scorers: Tries – M Moroni, T Cubelli, P Matera; conversions – N Sanchez (3); penalties – N Sanchez (4)