Australia break through for first championship win over Argentina

16 September 2017 - 15:10 By AFP
Scott Sio of the Wallabies runs the ball during The Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the Argentina Pumas at Canberra Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Canberra, Australia.
Scott Sio of the Wallabies runs the ball during The Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the Argentina Pumas at Canberra Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Canberra, Australia.
Image: Mark Nolan/Getty

 

Australia broke through for their first victory in this year’s Rugby Championship with a 45-20 win over Argentina in Canberra on Saturday.

The Wallabies fought back from 13-10 down at half-time to score five second-half tries to pull away in the final stages.

Coach Michael Cheika demanded more urgency and pace from his team in the second half and the Wallabies responded to dominate the Pumas in the second term.

Fullback Israel Folau scored a try double with other tries to Sekope Kepu, Will Genia, Nick Phipps and Jordan Uelese.

Fly-half Bernard Foley kicked six conversions and a penalty goal for 15 points.

The Wallabies finally broke through in the southern hemisphere tournament after some frustrating close shaves.

Australia led 20-10 in the second half against South Africa in Perth last week, only for the Springboks to snatch a 23-23 draw.

It followed a heartbreaking 35-29 defeat to the All Blacks in Dunedin last month when the Australians relinquished a 17-point lead as New Zealand snatched the winning try with two minutes left.

The Wallabies have now won 14 of their last 15 games against the Pumas and have lost only once to Argentina in 14 Tests at home.

Argentina have won only one of their seven Tests this year, the last time they finished a calendar year with a lower win rate was when they went winless from three games in 1976.

The Pumas dominated territory and possession in the first half and scored the opening try in the 23rd minute after 14 phases.

Scrum-half Martin Landajo burrowed over close to the line and Nicolas Sanchez’s conversion gave Argentina 10-3 advantage.

But Australia hit back through Folau, who backed up slick passing between Kurtley Beale, Sean McMahon and Foley to go over for his opening try.

The Wallabies paid for their indiscipline in their own half with Sanchez putting the Pumas ahead 13-10 with a penalty goal nearing half-time.

But the half-time break gave the Wallabies time to to regroup and they were a different proposition in the second half. Front-rower Kepu scored off a pick and drive close to the Pumas try-line and Folau completed his double with his 30th Test try off a cut-out Will Genia pass.

The Pumas were reduced to 14 men when prop Enrique Pieretto was sent to the sin bin for repeated scrum infringements leaving his team a man short for the final 10 minutes.

The Wallabies cranked it up and Genia darted over off a scrum win and his replacement Nick Phipps scored before winger Matias Moroni grabbed a consolation try for the Pumas off a kick and regather.

Replacement hooker Jordan Uelese finished off the scoring for the Wallabies with a close-range try in the final minute.

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