Argentina 17-54 Australia, Rugby Championship
Wallabies humble Pumas in Rosario
October 6, 2013
Israel Folau scores another Test try
© Getty Images
Australia have run out convincing winners over the Pumas in Argentina, scoring seven tries including the first hat-trick from Israel Folau. The Wallabies travelled to Rosario with real fears of slipping to No.6 in the International Rugby Board rankings, with the Pumas favoured to win and hand Australia the Rugby Championship wooden spoon, but the visitors gave their fans hope for the future with a much improved performance.
They did so by harnessing the strike power of Folau as they shook off the shackles and delivered on their attacking promise. Their defence, however, continued to cause concern with the Pumas scoring two tries and creating numerous linebreaks, but the performance to secure their second win from six matches under Ewen McKenzie was a marked improvement on last week's efforts against the Springboks in Cape Town.
Israel Folau enjoyed a day to remember © Getty Images
"It's a real confidence booster for us," Wallabies skipper James Horwill said. "The team played very well. One to 15 all put in an effort, and we're very pleased."
The Wallabies showed their intention to play a running game from the opening whistle, and Folau put his side on the scoreboard in the third minute after neat lead-up work from Quade Cooper and Joe Tomane. The try silenced the raucous crowd in Estadio Gigante de Arroyito but the fans were on their feet soon after as the Pumas did their best to assert themselves at the scrum.
The teams packed seven scrums five metres from the tryline in eight minutes as Wayne Barnes blew five penalties. The referee also yellow-carded Wallabies loose-head prop James Slipper for repeated infringements, but the Australians somehow escaped without conceding any points.
The teams then exchanged penalties for a 10-3 scoreline before the Wallabies made the most of a man advantage after Argentina lost Pablo Matera to the sin-bin for a shoulder charge on Scott Fardy. Christian Leali'ifano slotted another penalty and Folau beat his man to set up a try for Adam Ashley-Cooper, who raced 20 metres to dive across the line. Folau showed his class again two minutes later, when he slipped through the Pumas defence untouched, and the Wallabies led 25-3.
The Pumas kept in touch, however, with Folau missing a tackle on Marcelo Bosch as the centre raced to touch down.
Leali'ifano didn't return for the second half due to a knee injury, with Matt Toomua at inside centre, but the visitors were not unsettled by his absence. With Stephen Moore and Horwill in the thick of the action, the Wallabies worked the ball to Cooper and Folau was in again for his third thanks to a no-look inside pass from the pivot.
The Pumas managed another try from Martin Landajo, but the traffic otherwise was one-way and Tomane got reward for his busy game with a try after a 50-metre run. Replacement prop Benn Robinson and debutant fly-half Bernard Foley also crossed to cap a well-deserved win.
Will Genia provided slick service off front foot ball © Getty Images
The Wallabies produced their best form of the year in Rosario