Gold Coast - The Wallabies held on grimly to deny Argentina their first win in the
Rugby Championship, scraping home 32-25 on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
looked set for a convincing win with a 29-13 lead and 20 minutes left,
but the Pumas stormed back with two late tries to have the home side
clinging on inside their own quarter.
The Pumas had a scrum metres
out from the try-line in the final moments but were penalised for an
early engagement to get the Wallabies home for their second win in the
four-nation southern hemisphere series.
Yet again Argentina came
desperately close to winning their first Test in the Rugby Championship
after going down 33-31 to the Springboks in Salta last month.
have yet to win in 16 Tests over three seasons against southern
hemisphere powerhouses New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
the whole match Australia deserved to win, they produced some dynamic
rugby in the first half forcing us to make over 90 tackles," Pumas
centre Marcelo Bosch said.
"In the second half we kept the ball in hand and we produced better rugby and it was close at the end."
Pumas looked set to draw level with minutes left when replacement
scrum-half Tomas Cubelli darted through, but he dummied rather than
passed the ball and the try chance went begging.
Cubelli then compounded his error by knocking on at the base of a maul with the Wallaby defence fully stretched.
was the same story on the Gold Coast two years ago, up 19-9 with 20
minutes to go before losing 23-19, while Argentina failed to convert
forward dominance in driving rain last season in Perth, when Australia
held on to win 14-13.
"We have to get through those games and we survived it," Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said.
thought we did pretty well for the first 55 minutes and then they got
back into the game, they controlled it better and they were pretty
dangerous there towards the end.
"They put a lot of pressure on us. That's what they do. They did it to South Africa and New Zealand.
"We don't feel like the odd-one-out there. You've got to be able to deal with it, and we did at key moments."
hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, playing his first match in six weeks, only
lasted until halftime before succumbing to an ankle problem that has him
in doubt for the rest of the Rugby Championship.
Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper scored in the opening two minutes after he was put into the clear by Bernard Foley.
But the Pumas responded with a sensational try by winger Manuel Montero five minutes later.
long-striding Montero beat off the tackles of Peter Betham, Hooper and
Foley in a brilliant 55-metre run to the try-line and Nicolas Sanchez's
conversion put the Argentines in front.
The Australian pack was
doing well in the scrums and lineouts and the home side enjoyed plenty
of possession and territory in the opening half.
Foley bombed a
certain try when he went to ground with the ball, with winger Rob Horne
unmarked outside him and the try-line beckoning.
botched another try-scoring opportunity moments later and relied on
Foley to kick them to a 14-7 lead at halftime with three penalties.
Wallabies seized control of the match minutes after halftime when
Hooper scored his second try off sloppy handling by the Pumas.
Folau put through a little kick over the defence and Montero fumbled
for Hooper to pounce on it and brush aside Mariano Galarza's tackle to
stroll over and give the Australians a 21-7 lead.
extended their lead to 29-13, heading into the final quarter of the
match when scrum-half Nick Phipps darted through and his long pass put
winger Peter Betham over for his first Test try in the corner.
The dogged Pumas refused to give and two tries got them within four points with nine minutes left.
Bosch crossed wide out with 16 minutes left and fullback Joaquin
Tuculet raced through to score off Sanchez's well-weighted grubber kick
inside the final 10 minutes.
Foley kicked his fifth penalty with
six minutes left to give the Wallabies some valuable breathing space as
the Pumas went after the win.