Wales suffer shock defeat to Argentina at the Millennium Stadium
Last Updated: 11/11/12 8:16am
Argentina: Claimed a surprise but deserved win at Millennium Stadium
Wales' autumn campaign got off to the worst possible start as they suffered a shock 26-12 defeat to Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.
The Grand Slam winners looked strangely subdued as a quick-fire brace of tries in the second half laid the foundations for the Pumas' victory.
Juan Jose Imhoff and Gonzalo Camacho grabbed the all-important scores, while Nicolas Sanchez added seven points from the kicking tee and also slotted over two drop goals.
Wales struggled to penetrate their opponents' defence and could only muster four penalties via the boot of Leigh Halfpenny.
Wales, who were hoping for a win to boost their hopes of securing a top-four seeding in the 2015 World Cup, also had Jamie Roberts and Alun Wyn Jones taken off through injury before half-time.
The visitors took the lead via a penalty from Felipe Contepomi but the home side responded in kind through Halfpenny after being awarded a penalty at a scrum.
Argentina fly-half Sanchez was on target with a ninth-minute drop goal, but it was Wales who led 9-6 at the break after Halfpenny slotted over two more penalties.
With Contepomi carried off after being dazed in a collision, Sanchez assumed goalkicking duties and missed his first two attempts, but made no mistake with another drop goal in the 52nd minute.
Halfpenny had added another three points to the hosts' tally in the meantime but their slim lead was erased when Imhoff took a pass from influential flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe to score under the posts.
Four minutes later Camacho reached out for the line to ground in the corner and Sanchez added a difficult conversion before killing off the contest with another penalty in the final 10 minutes.
Wales' day was summed up three minutes from time when substitute back-row forward Rob McCusker powered towards the line only for the move to end with the concession of a penalty.
Argentina were by far the more comfortable side with ball in hand and looked to have gained a significant measure of confidence from their recent clashes with the southern hemisphere superpowers in the inaugural Rugby Championship.