A dominant defensive effort has lifted the Qantas Wallabies to a 16-10 victory over Argentina in a tough Mitsubishi Estate Rugby Championship Test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane tonight.
The Wallabies showed marked improvement in almost every facet of the game to register their first win of the season and sixth consecutive victory at the venue.
Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia took home man of the match honours in his final appearance at Suncorp Stadium, while his halves partner Christian Lealiifano also impressed as he steered the team around from flyhalf in his first appearance in a Wallabies jersey since 2016.
The Wallabies set piece stood up, with the scrum a major point of difference between the two sides, and the men in gold threatened on numerous occasions to blow the game open in attack but were unable to convert their opportunities.
After commanding the contest for almost the duration of the night, the Wallabies gave the Pumas a sniff after conceding a late try but dug in for the final eight minutes to score a confidence-boosting win.
Scores were locked up at 3-all before the Wallabies crossed after a well-worked backline move. Samu Kerevi proved the perfect decoy as Lealiifano found a flying Marika Koroibete sweeping across from the back and into open space before the ball was pushed through the hands and finished off smartly by opposite wing Reece Hodge.
That was the only time the Australians would find the tryline, but in the end, it would be all they needed as Lealiifano booted them clear with three penalty goals to make it 16-3 deep into the contest. Pumas number 8 Facundo Isa crashed over in the 72nd minute to put his side within striking distance, however as they had done for most of the night, the Wallabies were able to shut the visitors down.
Qantas Wallabies 16 (Reece Hodge try; Christian Lealiifano con; Christian Lealiifano 3 pens)
Argentina 10 (Facundo Isa try; Joaquin Diaz Bonilla con; Nicolas Sanchez pen)
1.Scott Sio 2. Folau Fainga’a 3. Sekope Kepu 4. Izack Rodda 5. Rory Arnold 6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto 7. Michael Hooper (c) 8. Isi Naisarani 9. Will Genia 10. Christian Lealiifano 11. Marika Koroibete 12. Samu Kerevi 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Reece Hodge 15. Kurtley Beale
Reserves: 16. Tolu Latu 17. James Slipper 18. Taniela Tupou 19. Rob Simmons 20. Luke Jones 21. Nic White 22. Matt To’omua 23. James O’Connor
1.Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro 2. Julian Montoya 3. Juan Figallo 4. Guido Petti 5. Tomas Lavanini 6. Pablo Matera (c) 7. Tomas Lezana 8. Facundo Isa 9. Tomas Cubelli 10. Nicolas Sanchez 11. Ramiro Moyano 12. Jeronimo de la Fuente 13. Matias Moroni 14. Santiago Cordero 15. Joaquin Tuculet
Reserves: 16. Santiago Socino 17. Mayco Vivas 18. Ramiro Herrera 19. Matias Alemanno 20. Juan Manuel Leguizamon 21. Felipe Ezcurra 22. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla 23. Matias Orlando
40 mins – Tupou for Kepu, 48 mins – Slipper for Sio, 52 mins – To’omua for Lealiifano, 58 mins- Latu for Fainga’a, 60 mins – Simmons for Arnold, 60 mins – White for Genia, 66 mins – Jones for Naisarani (HIA), 68 mins – O’Connor for Kuridrani, 74 mins – Naisarani for Rodda
WALLABIES MATCH NOTES
Crowd of 31, 559 – highest crowd for Australia v Argentina Test in Australia (excluding RWC)
James O’Connor – first Test since 2013
Luke Jones – first Test since 2014
Christian Lealiifano – first Test since 2016
Qantas Wallabies – 6th consecutive Test win at Suncorp Stadium