Wallabies get payback with dominant finish
A SUPERB second-half display has delivered Australia’s first Rugby Championship win of the year, demolishing Argentina 45-20.
Australia scored 35 points in the second half after trailing 13-10 at the break.
Two defeats to New Zealand and a draw with South Africa had piled the pressure on Australia to deliver a result in Canberra, and those nerves weren’t eased after a sloppy first half.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika had bemoaned his team’s intent when inter- viewed by FoxSports from the coach’s box 10 minutes into the second half.
“There’s no urgency, I’m not sure we realise we’re playing in a Test match,” Cheika said.
It was as though Cheika’s words were being broadcast on loudspeaker, because within four minutes the Wallabies had scored two tries and it kickstarted an impressive pointscoring spree that was much needed by this group.
After the Springboks were hammered 57-0 by the All Blacks earlier in the evening, the Wallabies’ next match against South Africa in Bloem- fontein in a fortnight suddenly looks very winnable.
Australia’s bonus-point win still leaves them third in the competition, however a successful tour in South Africa and Argentina could see them finish second.
In the four-team Rugby Championship, the All Blacks bully and dominate, and the other three teams play a mini tournament hoping not to be the worst, and that appears to be Argentina again.
The Pumas were dominant in territory and possession in the first half, with Australia struggling to find their way into the opposition half.
Argentina’s halfback Martin Landajo scored the opening try in the 24th minute, diving over from the base of the ruck after a sustained raid on the Australian line.
There was controversy with the decision as Agustin Creevy grabbed Ned Hanigan at the base of the ruck before Landajo scored.
But after seeing replays referee John Lacey was convinced Australia’s blindside was not unduly obstructed and awarded the five-pointer.
Israel Folau hit back five minutes later for Australia, completing a sweeping attacking move that went from left to right before the fullback was free down the touchline.
The Pumas’ offloading game caused problems close to the ruck for Australia, and they missed 17 tackles in the opening 40 minutes.
After Cheika’s “urgency” call, Sekope Kepu barged over from the base of a ruck in the 50th, and Folau’s second try came three minutes later following a brilliant midfield offload from Rob Simmons to Will Genia before the ball went wide.
With that score, Folau became the first Wallaby in history to record four doubles in a single year.