Wallabies claim tough victory over Argentina

Australia 32 Argentina 25

Wallabies claim tough victory over Argentina

Australia 32 Argentina 25

Australia survived a spirited Argentina fightback to claim their second win in the Rugby Championship with a 32-25 scoreline at Robina Stadium.

The hosts were looking to build on their victory over South Africa last time out, and things looked to be going their way when tries from Michael Hooper (two) and Peter Betham helped them open up a 28-13 lead by the hour mark.

Marcelo Bosch and Julian Tuculet then replied to bring the Pumas within four points, but their late pressure failed to bring any rewards as they fell to a fourth successive loss.

The Wallabies made two enforced changes to their side, with number eight Ben McCalman replacing Wycliff Palu (concussion) and wing Betham coming in for Adam Ashley-Cooper (neck). Tatafu Polota-Nau was also back in the starting line-up at hooker.

Argentina replaced Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino and Horacio Agulla with Juan Imhoff and Manuel Montero on the wings, while the suspended Tomas Lavanini made way for Matias Alemanno.

Rain made for tricky conditions on the Gold Coast but that did not seem to bother Australia, who scored the opening try after just two minutes. Bernard Foley provided the telling pass for captain Hooper, who exploited a huge gap in the defence to dot down despite desperate late attempts to haul him back.

Foley was wide with the conversion and that allowed the Pumas to go ahead five minutes later, when Montero burst down the touchline for their first try before Nicolas Sanchez added the extras.

Fly-half Foley was more successful with the boot after 16 minutes, slotting a penalty to give the Wallabies the edge once more.

And they remained in control, frustrated only by some solid Pumas defence and a number of telling errors which denied Rob Horne and Nick Phipps the chance to add their names to the scoresheet.

Two penalties from Foley eventually gave Australia some breathing space at the interval, however, as they left the field 14-7 in front.

That advantage was stretched three minutes into the second half as Hooper crossed for his second try of the match, collecting a loose ball after some sloppy Argentina defending before hurling himself across the line. Foley’s conversion took the lead out to 14 points.

Sanchez and Foley then traded penalties before the Argentina fly-half landed another kick to close the gap once more.

However, Australia’s response was swift, with Phipps playing in Betham for the winger to race down the touchline and cross at the corner flag.

The Pumas rallied and Bosch broke through after 64 minutes for their second try to ignite hopes of a fightback, with Sanchez’s conversion bringing the scores to 29-20.

And home nerves were jangling further when Argentina crossed for a third try with nine minutes remaining. A lapse of concentration saw the Wallabies defence lose the ball and Sanchez played a chip through for Tuculet, closing the gap to just four points, although the conversion crucially hit the post.

Another three-pointer from Foley six minutes from time eased some of the pressure, but the momentum was with the visitors in the dying stages. However, they missed the chance to cross again when Tomas Cubelli fumbled the ball with Imhoff in place to score under the posts.

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