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Wales kick start U20 World Rugby Championship with impressive win over hosts

Pathway | 4th June 2019

Four Cardiff Blues youngsters played their part as Wales under-20 opened their U20 World Rugby Championship campaign with an impressive victory over hosts Argentina.

Ben Warren and Ioan Davies featured in the starting line-up, with Teddy Williams and Max Llewellyn on the bench for Gareth Williams’ side.

Llewellyn was thrust into action earlier than anticipated, after outside centre Aneurin Owen was forced off the field in the opening stages of the game.

Cai Evans’ boot opened the scoring for the men in red, but the home side soon struck for the game’s opening try, as Francisco Minervino powered over after an initial break from wing Mateo Carreras.

Despite the Pumas being typically renowned for their strong set-piece, prop Warren formed a strong front-row combination, alongside Kemsley Mathias and skipper Dewi Lake, which caused the hosts problems in the scrums during the opening half. 

And it was the scrum that gave Wales the platform to narrow Argentina’s advantage, as Harri Morgan and Rio Dyer combined for a sensational score from the young Ospreys scrum half.

With Argentina threatening a second try of the afternoon, Warren put a thunderous hit to force a knock-on, and allowing Morgan to clear. The resulting chase from Ryan Conbeer resulted in a penalty, which Evans converted to put Wales back ahead.

Los Pumas regained their lead after only three minutes of second half action, as breaks from Juan Cruz Pérez Rachel and Carreras created numbers on the outside, with Rodrigo Isgro eventually collecting a cross-field kick to dive over the whitewash.

Evans kept Wales within reach from the tee, while the defensive effort continued to force the hosts into making handling errors in midfield.

The scoreboard kept ticking for Williams’ side, with a further two penalties from Evans giving Wales a five-point lead heading into the final quarter, and taking his personal tally to 15.

Full back Ignacio Mendy struck once again for Argentina, but Wales restored their lead after a fine individual score from wing Conbeer, before Evans opened up some breathing space with another penalty for Wales.

An Argentinian penalty set up a nervy ending for Gareth Williams' side, but the Welsh defence withstood pressure in the final play to seal a crucial victory, as they prepare to take on Fiji and defending champions France in the remaining games of the pool stage.