However it was not until Leigh Halfpenny kicked two late penalties that victory was finally secured after Argentina twice came back to within a point through tries from Juan-Martin Hernandez and Martin Landajo.
It was Wales’s first success since beating Italy in the Six Nations in March. Despite the slender nature of the win, interim coach Rob Howley said his players had restored pride in the wake of last Saturday’s 32-8 loss to Australia.
"It has been a tough week so it's important that we celebrate a win.This game was all about putting some pride back in the national jersey. I never question the attitude of the players.
"Last week's first half display was something we had never experienced before but in fairness, the players rolled up their sleeves, had the right edge and deserve the accolades.
"It was good to get a win against a side above us in the world rankings but more important to win at home because that's where we want to improve our success rate."
Howley added: "A win gives you confidence that you are doing things right.
It gives the players a lot of confidence and self-belief because we have won against a very good Argentinian side.”
Argentina head coach, Daniel Hourcade, said his players had not been able to impose their running game on the match. “We kicked too much and when you play the northern hemisphere sides they try to slow the ball. Wales did very well in stopping our game and we were never able to feel comfortable."