The Qantas Wallabies have defeated Argentina at Twickenham in London 33-21, finishing the 2016 Rugby Championship in second place behind New Zealand.
The match was the first time a Rugby Championship Test had been played in the Northern Hemisphere and continued Australia’s excellent recent record at Twickenham with five wins out of six at the venue since the beginning of last year’s Rugby World Cup.
Qantas Wallabies Captain, Stephen Moore said: “It was a very important game for us. We have a lot of young guys in this team who probably haven’t played at this stadium before. I think they learned a lot from tonight.
“Our desperation in defence (was key). They had a lot of possession out there. We hung tight together and tackled well. We didn’t let them over the line and that’s what won us the game.”
In a frenetic start by both sides it was the Wallabies who took first blood with a try to lock, Adam Coleman who powered his way through Argentinian defence to reach out and score. Bernard Foley converted to grab an early 7-0 lead for the visitors.
Matius Alemanno scored Argentina’s first try when the Wallabies were reduced to 14 men with vice-captain Michael Hooper sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.=It was a short-lived swing of momentum in the first quarter with Bernard Foley adding his second penalty of the match to extend the Wallabies lead to 13-5.
A try to centre Samu Kerevi extended Australia’s lead in the first half but the Argentinians clawed back when flyhalf Santiago González Iglesias slotted a penalty goal to close the gap to 8-18 at the interval.
The second half saw a much more willing Argentina shoot out of the blocks and capitalise on a defensive error by the men in gold to register the first points, ignoring a penalty option and taking a quick tap which allowed Jeronimo de la Fuente to barge over.
With the margin at just three points, both sides muscled up in defence before eventually the circuit breaker came through Samu Kerevi on the counter attack, after Michael Hooper disrupted the Pumas attack and gathered the loose ball and popped it up to the powerful centre who raced away to grab his second five-pointer of the night and extend the Wallabies lead to 25-15.
Two penalties to Los Pumas reduced the margin again with Santiago González Iglesias making no mistakes with both attempts to leave the score at 21-25.
After Bernard Foley booted the Aussies another three points clear, the margin remained a converted try before an intercept try to veteran replacement lock Dean Mumm four minutes from full time sealed the result.
The Argentinians never relented throughout the contest but the final score of 33-21 was indicative of the Wallabies’ dominance at key times in the contest and commitment in defence, despite losing two key forwards to the sin bin during the match.
The performance will have pleased Coach Michael Cheika, with many of his younger brigade stepping up. Samu Kerevi delivered a man of the match performance, while lock Adam Coleman continued his ascendency at Test level.
Michael Hooper was again in everything and it was his hustle in defence which led to the Pumas mistake to set up Kerevi’s second try.
Australia will now return home to prepare for their third and final clash against the all-conquering All Blacks in 2016 as they look to finally end their 30-year Eden Park drought.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
5 mins: Adam Coleman try, Bernard Foley con ARG 0-7 AUS
10 mins: Bernard Foley pen, ARG 0-10 AUS
21 mins: Matius Alemanno try ARG 5-10 AUS
26 mins: Bernard Foley pen, ARG 5-13 AUS
38 mins: Samu Kerevi try, ARG 5-18 AUS
41 mins: Santiago González Iglesias pen, ARG 8-18 AUS
44 mins: Jeronimo de la Fuente try, Santiago González Iglesias con, ARG 15-18 AUS
49 mins: Samu Kerevi try, Bernard Foley con ARG 15-25 AUS
55 mins: Santiago González Iglesias pen, ARG 18-25 AUS
70 mins: Santiago González Iglesias pen, ARG 21-25 AUS
74 mins: Bernard Foley pen, ARG 21-28 AUS
77 mins: Dean Mumm try, ARG 21-33 AUS
Australia 33 (Samu Kerevi 2, Adam Coleman, Dean Mumm tries; Bernard Foley 2 cons; 3 pens) defeated Argentina 21 (Matius Alemanno, Jeronimo de la Fuente tries; Santiago González Iglesias con; 3 pens)