Australia secured second spot in the Rugby Championship as they beat Argentina 37-20 at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on Saturday.
Tries from Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge (2), Bernard Foley and Will Genia saw them to the five points as they finish one point ahead of the Springboks and 13 behind champions New Zealand, who ended with five wins from five.
The Pumas are bottom of the pile as despite a spirited performance that saw Matias Alemanno and Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias score, it was loss number five for them, ending another dismal campaign in the southern hemisphere.
In an entertaining opening 40 minutes there was nothing to separate the sides as they went into the break locked up at 13 points apiece.
Argentina were chasing their first win of the Rugby Championship campaign while Australia only had one themselves, plus two draws.
Foley put his side in front on 15 minutes after the home side infringed in front of their posts, but he was off-target soon after with a sitter.
Fortunately for the Wallabies they made amends in perfect style a minute later when Koroibete finished well down the left from 30 metres out. Again though Foley couldn’t add points to the tally although this was a much more difficult attempt from the touchline. Australia were 8-0 up.
On 25 minutes the Pumas suddenly clicked and a series of strong carries led to Alemanno barging his way over near the uprights for seven. Argentina looked confident at this point and edged in front with a Nicolas Sanchez penalty, after Michael Hooper went off his feet at a ruck.
However, the hosts switched off on 34 minutes to allow Hodge to have a simple run in from eight metres out that put Australia 13-10 up.
Sanchez would level matters off the tee four minutes later before team-mate Joaquin Tuculet rightly had his try chalked off for a knock-on. That meant the teams went into their respective dressing room with honours even on the scoreboard which was a fair reflection of the half.
Foley’s night didn’t improve from the tee upon his return as he missed another attempt on 45 minutes, this time following a scrum offence.
The Wallabies were now desperately hunting a try as their next form of score, proved by their decision to snub three points from in front in favour of a scrum. It paid off with Foley throwing a dummy and slicing through to make it 20-13 for a try he thoroughly enjoyed of course.
But the lead was shortlived as a solid Pumas scrum set-piece led to Iglesias cutting back inside to go in near the posts to level matters.
Australia though just seemed the more likely to cut loose in the final quarter and so it proved with a slick move off the back of a lineout seeing Hodge bust through near halfway before finding Genia on his shoulder. The Wallabies were looking strong with a bonus-point in sight.
However they couldn’t shake off the Pumas, who were denied a try from Juan Martin Hernandez because of an earlier forward pass. That was compounded soon after when Marcos Kremer was yellow carded for a tip tackle that meant they’d end the game down to 14 players.
Foley also added to Argentina’s woes by extending the lead to 10 points following Kremer’s indiscretion, leaving them with plenty to do. And it proved far too much with the Wallabies in fact putting the seal on an impressive victory with a bonus-point try coming from Hodge on the left.
Tries: Alemanno, Iglesias
Cons: Sanchez 2
Pens: Sanchez 2
Yellow Card: Kremer
Tries: Koroibete, Hodge 2, Foley, Genia
Cons: Foley 3
Pens: Foley 2
Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Marcos Kremer, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera Paz
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Banjamin Macome, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Juan Martin Hernandez, 23 Santiago Cordero
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Henry Speight
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)