Fulltime: Wallabies escape against Pumas
Australia have escaped from an embarrassing defeat to Argentina, mounting a late comeback in the final minutes of the game to defeat the Pumas by four points at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast.
A spirited Pumas side showed spirit in attack and defence in an impressive display as they sought their first win on Australian soil since 1983.
The Wallabies trailed 3-6 at half time, and quickly found themselves trailing by two tries within 12 minutes of the second half starting.
The Pumas crossed for the first try of the match in the 50th minute through Tomas Leonardi after a Quade Cooper kick was charged-down, and that try was followed with another impressive, but controversial, try just two minutes later from Julio Farais Cabello. Video replays of the try showed a Puma foot go into touch, though the game officials missed it.
The Pumas couldn’t add the extras, giving the Wallabies some hope. However the Pumas moved further in front at the 58th minute, via a penalty goal to extend the lead to 13 points.
A hard running Pat McCabe crossed the line to get the Wallabies back within six points with 20 minutes to play, with the Pumas starting to open up in defence.
Digby Ioane scored a late try in the 72nd minute to secure the lead for the Australians, up 20-19.
Substitue Kurley Beale added a sideline penalty to push the Wallabies out by four points.
With just a minute left on the clock the Pumas had one last chance to steal a victory after Tatafu Polota-Nau knocked on from the kick off, however some solid defending saw the Wallabies hang on to register their second win of the Rugby Championship.
Coach Robbie Deans was far from happy at the post-match interview but the win nevertheless put the Wallabies to second on the Championship table.
What they said:
Wallabies coach, Robbie Deans, said:
“It was good character particularly when you look at the number of young blokes getting a taste of Test Rugby.
“We had some opportunities to put the game away a few times and we didn’t but we fought back and that’s a credit to our guys.
“I wouldn’t underestimate what we had here tonight, I mean the Argentinians are a good side, no team has played with consistency against them.
“I don’t know what the score was tonight but I think we might have put more points on them tonight than any other team in the Championship.
“They’re a great side, a side that plays with a lot of pride and a lot of ambition.
“They have a lot of potential and this experience is going to be good for them, not just this team but players back in Argentina will see what these guys are doing and they’ll want to be part of that dream and the whole country will be much better for it.
“This group is really going to enjoy travelling now, being able to go to Pretoria, it’s a good place.
“Nick Phipps was part of the performance to help us get out of the hole we were in.
“It wasn’t the perfect performance but he’ll be better for it and he’ll be a better player next time he steps out.”
Wallabies captain, Nathan Sharpe, said:
“We spoke about structure and sticking to the things we needed to do.
“When we were down and we were in the huddle I reminded them that this was a test of character and that we needed to stand up.
“I thought our set piece was pretty good tonight we didn’t let the Argentinians get a roll on so we’re pretty happy with that.
“I think collectively as a team they attack the ball at the breakdown, they know when to attack and flood the breakdown and they do it well.
“Their low tackling is very good and their set pieces from their line out and scrums are very good as well.
“They bide their time and they set themselves up, I mean we saw what happened in that two to three minute spell when they put it together and they are dangerous.”
AUSTRALIA 23 (Digby Ioane, Pat McCabe tries Berrick Barnes 2 cons Barnes 2, Kurtley Beale pens) bt ARGENTINA 19 (Julio Farias Cabello, Tomas Leonardi tries Juan Martin Hernandez 3 pens) at Skilled Park. Referee: Wayne Barnes. Crowd: 22,278.
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