GOLD COAST – Argentina scored their first win over the Wallabies on Australian soil in 35 years with a 23-19 victory on Queensland’s Gold Coast on Saturday.
After leading Australia 17-14 at the break, the Pumas held off a spirited comeback from the Wallabies to record a famous win.
The Wallabies scored three tries to two, but were undone by their poor discipline, with Nicolas Sanchez and Emiliano Boffelli kicking three penalties between them.
It was Argentina’s first win over the Wallabies in Australia since 1983, and consigned the Wallabies to their fifth loss in their last six Test matches.
In a match played in perfect conditions, both teams attempted to play attacking rugby throughout.
But a host of handling errors meant the second half in particular lacked fluency and developed into an arm-wrestle between two evenly matched sides.
Australia had plenty of chances to win the match in the second half, but dropped the ball too many times to let the Pumas off the hook.
They should have scored the winning try after the siren when the otherwise brilliant Israel Folau held on to the ball instead of passing to an unmarked Bernard Foley three metres from the line.
Folau then lost possession when hit in a tackle by three Argentine defenders, and the match was over.
The first half had featured some brilliant back play from both sides, who relished playing under clear skies and on a perfect pitch.
The Pumas opened the scoring in just the third minute thanks to a 52-metre penalty from fullback Boffelli.
The Wallabies hit back when scrumhalf Will Genia took an inside ball from Reece Hodge to score beside the posts.
Matt Toomua converted to make it 7-3, but the Pumas hit back immediately when inside centre Jeronimo de la Fuente broke the line and popped a ball to flyhalf Sanchez to score.
Folau then put Australia back in front with a brilliant individual try in the corner when he beat five players on his way to the try line.
However, Argentina had the last say of the half with a superb try of their own, Bautista Delguy dancing through the Wallaby tacklers to finish off a move that began on their own 22, when flank Pablo Matera broke the defence and charged 50 metres upfield before finding his right wing.
Delguy still had plenty to do, but he stepped off his right foot then shrugged off the tackle of fullback Dane Haylett-Petty to put the visitors back in front.
Sanchez kicked a penalty eight minutes after the restart to open a six-point lead.
But the Wallabies came back to within one point thanks to a Haylett-Petty try in the corner, before a second monster Boffelli penalty took the score to 23-19.
Despite huge pressure from the home side, the Pumas held on to win for the first time since beating the Wallabies at Ballymore in Brisbane in 1983.
HIGHLIGHTS: 2018 TRC Rd 4: Australia v Argentina@lospumas snapped a six game losing streak against the @qantaswallabies, winning in Australia for the first time in 35 years, 23-19.#RugbyChampionship #AUSvARG pic.twitter.com/L3RYeUcVlo— TheRugbyChampionship (@SanzarTRC) September 15, 2018
Australia 19 – Tries: Will Genia, Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty. Conversions: Matt Toomua (2).
Argentina 23 – Tries: Nicolas Sanchez, Bautista Delguy. Conversions: Sanchez (2). Penalties: Emiliano Boffelli (2), Sanchez (1).AFP