Nov 12 2012
Wales need to pick themselves up off the canvas this week after being floored by Argentina, and full-back Leigh Halfpenny believes their response must be driven by sheer hard work.
Halfpenny kicked all Wales' points in a 26-12 defeat that was their heaviest at the Millennium Stadium for three years. It was also the first time in 18 home Tests that Wales failed to score a try, but the reigning RBS 6 Nations champions have Samoa looming on Friday, followed by world champions New Zealand eight days later and then Australia.
"It was a reality check I guess, a wake-up call, and it was difficult to take," Halfpenny said. "For us now, as players and a whole squad, it's how we bounce back and react to the disappointment on Friday night."
Halfpenny added: "We have worked hard, really hard, over the last two weeks, and we're going to have to work harder now. But I am sure the longer we are together during the autumn series, the better we will get.
"I have had a lot of highs in the Welsh jersey and a couple of lows. That was one of those lows. It is hard to deal with as a rugby player, but that's rugby. All we can do is analyse our performance. We have to improve on where we went wrong."
After leading 9-6 at half-time, Wales conceded 20 points to a Pumas side that scored two tries in six minutes through their dangerous wings Juan Imhoff and Gonzalo Camacho. It was Argentina's second victory over Wales in Cardiff and means it is now 10 years since Wales began an autumn campaign with a win.
"We didn't meet the standards we set," Halfpenny added. "We had a good week's preparation, going to Poland, and the week here went well before the game. We were happy with where we were, but it didn't come out in the game."
Wales have now started to concentrate on Samoa, with the last two meetings between the countries - Wales won both by a combined total of only 11 points - suggesting another tough encounter.
"It goes without saying that Samoa are a hugely physical team and have that unknown about them how they create something out of nothing," Halfpenny said. "I think it will be a very physical and fast game.
"It's one where we need to stick to our structures, our tactics and not let the game go loose. We have to match them physically and with all the fitness work we've done, if we are able to keep the ball it should be good."