November 12, 2012
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Jenkins urges Wales to be smarter

Wales prop Gethin Jenkins has told his team-mates the Six Nations Grand Slam champions must "play in the right territory" against Samoa on Friday after last weekend's loss to Argentina.

Saturday's 26-12 defeat by the Pumas at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium saw Wales outscored two tries to nil and effectively ended their hopes of a top four world ranking that will secure a place among the leading seeds for next month's 2015 World Cup draw.

Wales, last year's World Cup semi-finalists, now risk dropping out of the top eight in the International Rugby Board standings, which would leave them in a fiendishly difficult group come the 2015 edition in England.

They conclude the European autumn international season against Australia, who whitewashed Wales 3-0 in a Test series 'down under' in June, and world champions New Zealand, who haven't lost to the Welsh since 1953.

So it's easy to see why the Samoa match has now assumed pivotal importance for Wales, who've won just three of their last six Tests against the South Sea Islanders, and two of those by a margin of seven or fewer points.

Their task has not been made any easier by Jamie Roberts (concussion) and Alun Wyn Jones (shoulder) suffering injuries against Argentina that saw them join an already lengthy Wales casualty list.

After the duo's first half departures, Argentina overturned a 9-6 interval deficit as tries from wings Juan Imhoff and Gonzalo Camacho securing only the Pumas second win in Cardiff exactly 11 years to the day since their first.

Jenkins rightly refused to blame injuries for Wales' defeat, saying they's been outplayed.

We just didn't play in the right areas," said the 91 times-capped forward.

"We didn't really look like scoring at some points of the game.

"Argentina came with a game-plan to kick a lot and be very physical, but we played into their hands, really. We tried to play too much rugby inside our own territory, and I don't know whether it tired us out when it came to the last 25 or 30 minutes.

"They seemed to up the tempo and we couldn't live with it. We let in two soft tries and I suppose our spirit went down a little."

Wales may have opted for their now traditional pre-series training camp at a cryotheraphy centre in Poland but Argentina came into Saturday's clash match-fit after an encouraging, if winless, debut season in a Rugby Championship also featuring southern hemisphere giants South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

"I have played against Argentina before, but they've definitely gone up a level from where they have been," Jenkins said.

"Playing six games against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, they are going to be adjusted to that level of intensity. Every time you play a Tri-Nations team it is a step up."

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley, in charge as Warren Gatland starts planning for next year's British and Irish Lions tour of Australia, must now decide whether to give the players well beaten by the Pumas another chance against Samoa or make key changes.

"I am disappointed, frustrated and annoyed because we know we are a better side than that," Howley said.

"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," the former Wales scrum-half added.

"They have certainly learned from that and we were exposed to it. We very much came second."

AFP

Wiggle

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