Christian Leali’ifano contributed 11 points as the Wallabies beat Argentina 16-10 in Brisbane on Saturday.
In stark contrast to the absorbing Test between the All Blacks and Springboks in Wellington, which ended in a draw earlier, this was a rollercoaster and somewhat unstructured encounter in which neither side were able to completely gain the acsendancy.
Instead, the outcome was determined by whoever capitalised more on the opposition’s mistakes. The one certainty confirmed by this game is that both the Wallabies and Los Pumas are far off competing on the same level as their other two Rugby Championship counterparts.
In an error-ridden first half, there was a combined total of 21 handling errors, 15 turnovers and 32 missed tackles.
Christian Leali’ifano and Nicolás Sánchez traded penalties, but it was the Wallabies who got the first try when great execution from the set piece resulted in Reece Hodge barging over. Leali’ifano added the conversion.
The sloppiness morphed into the second half. Australia, through Leali’ifano, extended their lead to 13. But a lack of urgency and intensity meant there were no real action throughout the half.
With the hosts seemingly leading comfortably going into the last 10 minutes, one of Argentina’s high-risk plays finally paid off when Facundo Isa scored from a 13-man lineout to set up a nervy finish. But the hosts’ defence held up nicely to see out the match and secure a much-needed win.
Wallabies – Try: Reece Hodge. Conversion: Christian Leali’ifano. Penalties: Leali’ifano (3).
Argentina – Try: Facundo Isa. Conversion: Joaquín Díaz Bonilla. Penalty: Nicolás Sánchez.
Wallabies – 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lukhan Salakai-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 James O’Connor.
Argentina – 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Subs: 16 Santiago Sacino, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Ramiro Herera, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Juan Manuel Leuguizamon, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Matias Orlando.