After a draw in First Test last week the Pumas secured the series with a strong 33-11 win.
Wales coach Wayne Pivac, who had said he was without 27 players for this match because of injuries and British and Irish Lions commitments in South Africa, made seven changes following last week’s 20-20 draw with the Pumas at the Principality Stadium.
But an Argentina team featuring nine of the players who started their impressive win over New Zealand last year proved too strong as they outscored Wales three tries to one on a sunny afternoon.
Wales opened the scoring through a try from Owen Lane but Argentina responded with tries from wing Matias Moroni, scrum-half Tomas Cubelli and flanker Pablo Matera, while flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez kicked the Pumas’ remaining 18 points.
Pivac had made it clear he saw the Argentina series as a chance to develop Wales’ squad depth ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France.
The New Zealander saw his much-changed team dominated at the scrum – a traditional strength of Argentina’s rugby – and in the air, with the Pumas deploying a simple but effective ball-carrying game that saw them make far fewer errors than Wales.
Argentina made two changes, with wing Bautista Delguy and centre Santiago Chocobares starting following last week’s red card for full-back Juan Cruz Mallia.
Cardiff wing Lane finished well to open the scoring before Argentina hit back as Moroni surged across for a try converted by Sanchez.
Sanchez punished Welsh indiscipline with a penalty before Cubelli, who would have scored earlier but for a knock-on, crossed for a try that was duly converted.
Jarrod Evans kicked a penalty for Wales but Argentina were well worth their 17-8 lead at half-time.
Evans’s second penalty did see the hosts close to within a score but fresh indiscipline gifted Sanchez another penalty before Wales full-back Hallam Amos was yellow carded for taking out opposite number Carreras in the air.
Taine Basham’s late tackle on Carreras saw English referee Luke Pearce award Argentina another penalty, with Sanchez adding three points to the Pumas’ tally.
Sanchez hit the post with a long-range penalty attempt before the No 10 was back on target again.
The dynamic Matera [pictured above] then crossed for Argentina’s third try, with Sanchez’s conversion completing the scoring.
Wales 11: Try: Lane, Pens: J Evans 2 Argentina 33: Tries: Moroni, Cubelli, Matera, Cons: Sanchez 3
Pens: Sanchez 4
Wales: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Jonathan Davies (captain), 11 Tom Rogers, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomon Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 James Botham, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Ben Carter, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Gareth Thomas
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Rhodri Jone, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Willis Halaholo.
Argentina: 15 Santiago Carreras, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Santiago Chocobares, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Matias Moroni, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Facundo Isa, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Matias Alemanno, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 23 Domingo Miotti, 23 Juan Imhoff.
Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (RFU) & Karl Dickson (RFU)
TMO: Tom Foley (RFU)