Wallabies break Championship duck
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP REPORT: Australia recorded their first Rugby Championship win of the season, as their down Argentina 45-20 in Canberra on Saturday.
The Wallabies had a sluggish first-half performance and were forced to overcome a 10-13 halftime deficit to eventually outscore the Los Pumas, six tries to two.
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 brace of tries with other tries to Sekope Kepu, Will Genia, Nick Phipps and Jordan Uelese.
Flyhalf 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 29-35 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.
Scrumhalf 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 regroup and they were a different proposition in the second half.
Front row 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 wing 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.
Man of the match: Argentina No.8 Tomas Lezana made noteworthy ball carries and worked really hard through out the match. Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez's boot kept the score ticking and got the side in crucial spaces. Michael Hooper was relentless at the breakdown, however, our nod goes to fullback Isreal Folau, who not only scored two tries but his second-half surge instigated his teams to attack.
Moment of the match: Magic moments were rare, however, Bernard Foley's try-saving tackle in the 58th minute prevented Argentina from getting the crucial points and building momentum.
Villian of the match: Enrique Pieretto, his yellow card in the 70th minute made it easy for Australia to score three tries.
Tries: Folau 2, Kepu, Genia, Phipps, Uelese
Cons: Foley 6
Tries: Landajo, Moroni
Cons: Sanchez 2
Pens: Sanchez 2
Yellow Card: Enrique Pieretto (Argentina, 70 - deliberate scrum infringements)
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Marika Koroibete.
Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel tatez Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Juan Martin Leguizamon, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Manuel Montero.
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Source: Agence France-Presse