Argentina 34-45 AustraliaWallabies recover from horror start to win memorable clash 1.53am BST And so, a quintessential “game of two halves”, in which the Pumas ran riot, playing with verve and brio, running hard and straight at the line.If it feels al…
Category: Argentina Rugby
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- Wallabies fight back in second half for convincing win in Canberra
- All Blacks irresistible in remarkable 57-0 drubbing of South Africa
“I didn’t have to say anything,” Michael Cheika said about his half-time team talk. “I asked them what was going on and they told me lack of urgency…. they sorted themselves in the second half and that was better rugby from us.”
Well the Wallabies have done what was expected of them just in an unexpected way. The final score was probably about right by the end, but at the end of the first half it looked like Australia were in serious trouble. Just how much their improvement in the second half was due to their own ability and how much was due to Argentina tiring badly is up for debate. I strongly suspect it was a combination of both.
For my money the key passage of play was early in the second half when the Pumas threw everything at the Wallabies line only to come up short. They looked dead on their feet after that, and the late try fest was no surprise.
Foley adds the extra points and the whistle blows. That’s all she wrote – the Wallabies were as clinical in the second half as they were off the pace in the first.
80 min: Australia ignore the siren, charge towards the line and Uelese bundles the ball over. There’s the icing on the cake.
78 min: Sanchez hits it home from the edge.
77 min: Moroni with a perfect chip and chase to get the scoreline more respectable. Great skill.
76 min: Foley adds the cherry. This has been a Jekyll and Hyde performance by the Wallabies.
75 min: McMahon with the pass to Phipps who’s brought down just short of the line but pops it over with an outstretched hand
74 min: Foley kicks the Wallabies further ahead, in off the post.
73 min: Well it’s been a long time coming but the Wallabies are finally over the line again. The line was wide open from the scrum, Genia saw the opening and hurled himself through it.
Terrific captaincy by Michael Hooper to keep the pressure on with a dominant scrum and draw the yellow card. #AUSVARG
71 min: A card for Argentina. It’s been coming. Pieretto marches off after more pressure on the Pumas scrum.
69 min: Oof. The Wallabies get it away from the scrum, charge to the line but get held up again. Kerevi this time. Back we go.
68 min: The ref is getting impatient with the Argentina scrum. The Wallabies have piled on the pressure. The latest infringement sparks a bin warning. Hooper asks about a penalty try … doesn’t get much of a response.
66 min: McMahon is held up over the line and the Wallabies get the scrum. That would have been a kick in the teeth for the Pumas after all that pressure. The momentum has swung back to Australia.
65 min: The Wallabies finally get some possession and run it deep into the Argentina half. Eventually it’s turned over but play is brought back for an an earlier penalty and Foley boots it into touch about 5m out from the Argentina line.
64 min: A poor lineout and, here we go again, the Pumas bolt forward. It’s been all Argentina for the last five minutes.
63 min: Finally, the Wallabies get a penalty and the pressure evaporates. That’s heartbreaking stuff for the Pumas who threw everything at the line and came up short. Great defence.
61 min: The Pumas can practically smell the try line but the Wallabies have defended admirably, repelling everything that’s been thrown at them. So far.
60 min: More excellent defence from the Wallabies. Just when it looked like the Pumas had dived over in the corner, the Wallabies throw their bodies underneath to keep it out. Still in the danger zone though.
58 min: Heart-in-mouth time for the Wallabies. They defend brilliantly on the line to keep the Pumas out originally, then Folau gets a fingertip to a pass that would have led to a certain try. Then a stab forward causes confusion and the Wallabies defence scrambles to get it down.
56 min: Lord knows what Cheika
said to the Wallabies during the break but it seems to have done the trick. They can’t afford to take their foot off the gas though. The Pumas are on the attack, looking for an immediate reply.
54 min: Foley with a textbook kick from the edge to add the extras.
52 min: And suddenly the game looks a lot more comfortable for the Wallabies. Genia with a long pass out to Folau who slides home. Good spell of pressure from the hosts.
50 min: Foley makes no mistake from the kick. Better from the Wallabies, who now have a bit of breathing space.
49 min: The Wallabies batter their way to the line with a hat-trick of pick-and-gos. Kepu is the man who finally gets it over the line.
“No urgency… I don’t think we realised we were in a Test match,” Cheika says of the first half during a break for the scrum. Nail meet head.
48 min: The Wallabies take a quick tap penalty, hoping to keep the pressure up on the Pumas line, but Argentina soak up the attack and the hosts are lucky to win a scrum.
47 min: It’s actually been a good bit of play by the Wallabies, but the Pumas have tackled well to deny them an opening. Plenty of phases. This will tire Argentina, but Australia need the points.
45 min: A lot of phases from both teams… but no points at the end of it. The Wallabies get a lineout and try to run the phases again… until a loose pass slips out of Folau’s grasp. They start again.
43 min: Forget I said anything. Another poor decision and it’s the Pumas who suddenly have the ball again. They’re battering the Aussie line too, fighting for every metre.
41 min: Peeeep! Off we go again. Surely the Wallabies have to step it up a gear in this half? Argentina have tended to die off a little towards the back end of games but are Australia capable of making them pay? They’ve already made numerous errors themselves this game. They’ve started this half well though. Moving the ball from right to left to right again.
A few boos ring out from the sparse crowd as the Wallabies boot it into touch. The Pumas have had plenty of possession and possibly should be further ahead. Would love to hear what Cheika says to the Wallabies during the break. See you in the second half.
39 min: Not long to the buzzer and the Wallabies will be glad to hear it. The way it’s been going the Pumas are the more likely side to score.
37 min: Hats off to the Pumas, they’ve been the better side and but for that brief moment of excellence from the Wallabies for the try, they’d be well in front. The visitors win yet another penalty about 45m out. Sanchez goes for it but it sails wide.
35 min: The Pumas pile on the pressure from the restart and earn another penalty, Kuridrani giving it away this time. This one’s much closer though and Sanchez boots it home easily.
32 min: The big boot of Boffelli comes into play as McMahon gives away a penalty. Elementary error. Offside. It looks like the kick is sailing between the posts… but then it slices just wide.
30 min: And the conversion from Foley is straight through the middle. We’re all square again. Cheika can breathe.
29 min: The Wallabies hit back. Great ball movement and once it reached Folau on the right, there was only one outcome. He brushes off a stretching hand from the nearest defender to touch down.
26 min: Good metres from a Foley kick but the Pumas have got their tails up and charge again at the Wallabies line. Argentina are good for their lead, the Wallabies are struggling to get out of second gear.
Sanchez with the conversion. Pressure on the Wallabies.
24 min: Well it’s given by John Lacey and Argentina are in front. Debatable but that’s the call.
24 min: Landajo over the line … but is it legal? The ref goes to the TMO. Strong suggestion of offside.
22 min: Well it’s not exactly been the spectacle the ARU would have hoped for so far – more of an arm wrestle really with some errors thrown in. Some good offloads from the Pumas keep the ball alive and they begin to build pressure close to the Wallabies line.
20 min: Just as the Pumas look like they’re about to make the break, they’re brought back for a forward pass from Sanchez. Boffelli was in a very dangerous position then too. Warning signs for the Wallabies.
17 min: Well this isn’t going according to plan for Australia. It’s been the Pumas in control for the last 10 minutes, pushing and probing without really threatening to break the line. Eventually it’s booted high and Beale takes the mark.
15 min: Well after that initial dominance the Wallabies have been on the back foot for the last five minutes, literally, as the Pumas charge up the field with a rolling maul. It’s finally halted but it comes at the cost of a penalty, which is duly booted between the posts to level things up.
12 min: Some, shall we say, ‘scrappy’ defence from the Wallabies to finally halt a Pumas attack down the right flank. Argentina also struggle to hold on to the ball with the try line in sight and the Wallabies get a scrum out of it to ease the pressure. It’s booted into touch and the physio immediately races onto the pitch to check on Sanchez, who hurt himself in a solid tackle on Kuridrani.
10 min: The referee loses patience with the Pumas and hands it over to the Wallabies who go long, kicking deep into the Pumas half. A looping kick comes flying back and it’s as you were – with the Pumas on the attack.
9 min: Well it’s been a solid start from the Wallabies, and they’ve deservedly edged in front… although there are a few signs of the Pumas fighting back. They have a scrum in the Aussie half after almost breaking the line.
6 min: Foley with a simple kick from between the posts after one too many infractions from the visitors.
5 min: Early stoppage as Alemanno goes down with a knock from a lineout. He takes about a minute, then hops up as healthy as you like. Wallabies back on the attack but the Pumas’ defence has held up well. So far.
4 min: The Wallabies attack the left corner but Beale can’t find a way through and the Wallabies concede a penalty. Good defence from the Pumas.
3 min: And that leads to a penalty which Foley boots into the corner. Early pressure from the Wallabies.
1 min: Peeeeep! And we’re off. Can the Pumas spring a surprise tonight? They’ll fancy their chances after such a good showing in New Zealand… although there’s a mistake right from the off, a knock-on from Argentina as they try to pick up the Aussie kick. Australia scrum.
That’s the anthems over. You could see the players’ breath frosting over in the cool Canberra air. It’s almost go time.
#AUSvARG Can anyone explain to me the logic of this test being played at same time as everyone’s attention is on AFL and NRL finals?
A wealth of options tonight for code-hungry Aussies. Despite that – and the chilly conditions – there’s a “decent” crowd shaping up in Canberra. Reports earlier in the week that it had sold out (when it hadn’t) didn’t help ticket sales either.
Selection questions. Michael Cheika must live in a rough area because he’s changed his lock combination yet again. It’s Rob Simmons in the second row at the expense of Rory Arnold, who isn’t even in the 23. Earlier in the week, Cheika said it was to prove a point about the consistency needed from players at Test level, but surely consistent set-piece combinations is just as crucial for building success. There are plenty of question marks over Hanigan’s form too but he’s been backed for another week, possibly because no one is really pushing for his position. Marika Koroibete is poised for his debut.
Argentina have made four changes. Tomas Lezana replaces Benjamin Macone at No.8. Martin Landajo, Ramiro Moyano and Matias Orlando start in the backs instead of Tomas Cubelli, Joaquin Tuculet and Santiago Cordero.
Australia (15-1): Israel Folau, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Sean McMahon, Michael Hooper (c), Ned Hanigan, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio
Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Tom Robertson, Allan Alaalatoa, Izack Rodda, Jack Dempsey, Nick Phipps, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete
Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano, Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo, Tomas Lezana, Javier Ortega Desio, Pablo Matera, Matias Alemanno, Guido Petti, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustin Creevy (c), Lucas Noguera
Reserves: Julian Montoya, Santiago Garcia Botta, Enrique Pieretto, Marcos Kremer, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Manuel Montero
Stat blast. There are plenty of other reasons for the Wallabies to feel optimistic going into this clash, and let’s face it, Aussie rugby fans need something to cheer about this year. The statistics paint a pretty one-sided picture.
Evening everyone and thanks for ignoring all that football finals nonsense going on elsewhere to join me as the Wallabies look for their first win of the Rugby Championship campaign – if you’re reading this, you’re truly a diehard fan. But before I go any further, they may have struggled recently against the Wallabies and Argentina, but reports of the All Blacks’ imminent demise seem to have been greatly exaggerated. They have just absolutely shpadonked the Springboks 57-0 – a victory so emphatic it’s forced me to invent a new word to describe it.
So I guess that’s this season’s Rugby Championship title race over then. Over to the battle to avoid the wooden spoon. And while it’s all too easy to be cynical (see my intro) in this post-truth, post-Super Rugby-season world, at least Wallabies fans have cause for optimism tonight. They may have been frustrating to watch in their last two outings against South Africa and New Zealand, but there were also signs that they can be as good as anyone when it all clicks together. Michael Cheika certainly seems to think he’s onto something good and, with the exception of one tweak, has backed the team that battled to a stalemate against South Africa last week.
Richard will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Bret Harris on how the Wallabies have finally turned up to the party, only to find out the other revellers have moved on:
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