Argentina pushed hard by European minnows ahead of Wales series
Far from the highs of an undefeated series with the Wallabies and a historic win over the All Blacks, Argentina have plodded their way to a win over one of the minnows of world rugby in Bucharest on Saturday.
Argentina held on for a narrow 24-17 win over hosts Romania despite outscoring their hosts by four tries to one.
Romania, who have claimed just a single victory over a tier-one team in the past 25 years, were once a common sight at the Rugby World Cup, featuring in every competition from 1987 through to 2015 – recording five wins over that period. They were a somewhat controversial omission from the 2019 tournament in Japan after fielding ineligible players in their qualification matches, however.
Argentina, who now travel to Cardiff to take on Wales in two tests over the next fortnight, were 19-7 ahead but were pulled back by the boot of Romania fullback Ionel Melinte, who put over four penalties.
Hooker Eugen Capatana scored the only try for Romania after Argentina had gone over three times in the first half with Rodrigo Bruni and Santiago Cordero crossing the chalk, as well as earning a penalty try just before halftime.
Romania were due to host Scotland next week but that match has been cancelled because of positive COVID-19 cases in the Scottish ranks.
While Argentina haven’t played a match together since last year and understandably entered the game with a bit of rust, Los Pumas were still expected to comfortably account for their tier-two opposition.
In their opening game of 2020, Argentina recorded a historic 25-15 win over New Zealand – despite many of their players having not played a competitve professoinal match since the prevoius year’s World Cup.
While Wales won’t have any of their British and Irish Lions contingent available for the coming matches, they’ll still put up a considerably tougher fight than Romania and scored an easy 68-12 victory over Canada over the weekend.
– with AAP
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