Australia 45-20 Argentina: Hosts flex muscles in second half to claim welcome win
Last Updated: 16/09/17 2:53pm
Australia claimed their first win of the Rugby Championship with a 45-20 victory over Argentina in Canberra.
The Wallabies were nine points ahead in the 72nd minute before a flurry of late tries added some comfort to the scoreline and gave them a confidence-boosting success.
The home side were forced to fight back from a half-time deficit after the teams turned around with the Pumas 13-10 in front, following tries from Martin Landajo and Israel Folau.
Sekope Kepu and Folau then added further scores to put Australia 24-13 ahead, but it was Will Genia's try with less than 10 minutes remaining that gave Michael Cheika's men breathing room.
Nick Phipps then scored off the restart, and though Matias Moroni finished off a brilliant individual try near the end to give the Pumas a measure of respectability, it was the hosts who had the final say when replacement hooker Jordan Uelese went over with no time left on the clock.
The Wallabies finally claimed a victory 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. That 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 Landajo burrowed over close to the line and Nicolas Sanchez's conversion gave Argentina a 10-3 advantage.
But Australia hit back through Folau, who backed up slick passing between Kurtley Beale, Sean McMahon and Bernard Foley to go over for his opening try.
The Wallabies paid for their indiscipline in their own half with Sanchez putting the visitors ahead 13-10 with a penalty goal nearing half-time.
But the half-time break gave the Wallabies time 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 Genia pass.
The Pumas were reduced to 14 men when prop Enrique Pieretto was sent to the sin bin for repeated scrum infringements with 10 minutes remaining.
The Wallabies cranked it up as Genia darted over off a scrum win, and his replacement Phipps then scored before winger Moroni grabbed a consolation try for the Pumas off a kick and regather.
Replacement hooker Uelese finished off the scoring for the home side with a close-range try in the final minute.