Wallabies blow hapless Pumas away
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH REPORT: Australia won their third successive Test when they beat a hapless Argentina 27-8 in Townsville on Saturday.
The three tries to one win saw the Wallabies overtake South Africa in second place on the tournament standings.
It was an impressive showing by the Aussies, who continued on from their back-to-back wins over the Springboks.
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Australia has now notched three-straight wins for the first time since 2017, as James O’Connor made a successful Test return.
Samu Kerevi’s powerful running set the scene for the Wallabies, the centre setting up and scoring a try to create a 17-3 half-time buffer.
Australia lost their rhythm though and the Pumas fired up, three missed kicks costing them as they otherwise won the early exchanges of the second half.
But O’Connor’s arrival after 56 minutes – his first game since May because of neck and groin injuries – alongside halfback Tate McDermott seemed to refocus the Wallabies.
Replacing Quade Cooper at five-eighth after another understated performance, O’Connor kicked a settling penalty then laid on a try for in-form wing Andrew Kellaway to seal the result.
The victory followed back-to-back Rugby Championship wins over South Africa, Dave Rennie’s side to play Argentina on the Gold Coast next Saturday before departing for a tour of Japan and Europe.
Not since winning four straight in 2017 have they enjoyed such a charmed run.
Kerevi’s line-busting form alongside emerging No.13 Len Ikitau was a highlight, as was Kellaway’s form on the wing and Reece Hodge’s effort at fullback.
Hodge dummied and strongly skipped through two tackles for the game’s first try, kicking and running strongly in general play as he made his case for the No.15 after Tom Banks’ broken arm last week.
The 23,184-strong crowd, which had earlier watched the All Blacks sneak past South Africa, enjoyed another strong shift from prop Taniela Tupou.
His replacement Tom Robertson, as well as lock Darcy Swain, also made an impact to arrest any Argentina momentum in the final quarter of the clash.
Skipper Julian Montoya scored for Argentina off the back of a maul to open the second half but a yellow card to Marcos Kremer for tripping Hodge hurt their hopes just before O’Connor’s arrival.
Man of the match: Emiliano Boffelli was Argentina’s best back and captain Julián Montoya the best in the pack. Australian forwards like Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper and Taniela Tupou had impressive outings. However, it was hard-running backs like Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete and Samu Kerevi that did most of the damage. Our award goes to Wallaby centre Samu Kerevi – who made over 100 metres in his 14 carries, also made some crucial tackles and scored a great try.
Tries: Hodge, Kerevi, Kellaway
Con: Cooper 2, O’Connor
Pens: Cooper, O’Connor
Yellow card: Marcos Kremer (Argentina, 56 – foul play, tripping an opponent)
Australia: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Rob Leota, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 James O’Connor, 23 Jordan Petaia.
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Facundo Gigena.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Rodrigo Martinez, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Joaquin Oviedo, 21 Gonzalo Garcia, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Mateo Carreras.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper, Nic Berry
TMO: Brett Cronan