Fernandez Lobbe hails Pumas' victory
November 10, 2012
Manuel Carizza helped Argetina to beat Wales in Cardiff for the first time in 11 years © PA Photos
Argentina's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe hailed his teams' performance as they defeated Six Nations champions Wales 26-12 at the Millennium Stadium.
Fernandez Lobbe was named as man-of-the-match but credited his team-mates for laying the foundation for his award with another passionate and skillful performance.
"This is a great win for us. We have been searching for this win for a long time as a group," he said. "The most important thing for us was to try to get that first win. We are happy to do it against such a good team."
Wales led 9-6 at the break thanks to three Leigh Halfpenny penalties, with Felipe Contepomi slotting a penalty and Nicolas Sanchez landing a drop goal for the Pumas.
Halfpenny extended Wales' lead with a fourth penalty early in the second half, but a penalty and drop goal from Sanchez, plus converted tries for wings Juan Imhoff and Gonzalo Camacho saw the visitors secure their second win over Wales in Cardiff, 11 years to the day after their first.
Wales interim head coach Rob Howley meanwhile admitted his side had been made to look lethargic by a battle-hardened Argentina after the Pumas claimed a stunning 26-12 win at the Millennium Stadium.
The defeat puts a major dent in Wales' hopes of securing a top-four place in the world rankings ahead of next month's 2015 World Cup draw, but they can have no qualms after being exposed by Argentina. And there looks set to be further bad news for Howley with Jamie Roberts and Alun Wyn Jones picking up injuries that put their involvement in the rest of the autumn series in doubt.
"I am disappointed, frustrated and annoyed because we know we are a better side than that," Howley said. "We talked about it being an arm wrestle for 50 minutes and we were 12-6 ahead but we looked one-paced. When you play Argentina, tempo, pace and intensity are important but there is no doubt their experience and exposure to the Rugby Championship has taken that Argentina side to another level. They played the All Blacks, South Africa and Australia over a six-week period and they have certainly learned from that and we were exposed to it today and we very much came second."
Wales' medical team will have their hand full in an attempt to ensure that Roberts and Jones are fit for their next Test against Samoa on Friday. "Jamie has a bump on the head, it's a mild concussion to say the least," Howley said. "Alun Wyn has done his AC (joint) so we will have to wait on the medical opinion for that but it does not look good at this time and it will test our strength in depth and these next three games are very important."
Argentina coach Santiago Phelan agreed with Howley's view that his side's experience in the Rugby Championship played a big part in their victory, which tees them up perfectly for their remaining tour fixtures against France and Ireland.
He said: "We are very happy with our performance today. The team took the initiative in the first 20 minutes and played very well in the second half, moving the ball and keeping possession. The intensity of the game was very high, but the Argentinian players have had a good experience playing in the Rugby Championship and have learned to play at this intensity. Today was a good step forward for our team in terms of intensity and tempo and scoring points, which was one of our major goals for this game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.