Sport Union Argentina upsets woeful Wallabies in Rugby Championship

Argentina upsets woeful Wallabies in Rugby Championship

Wallabies Pumas on gold Coast
Will Genia scored for Australia but was scathing after the match about the team's performance. Photo: Getty
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Australia has gone down 23-19 to Argentina in the Rugby Championship Test on the Gold Coast, handing the Pumas their first win on Australian soil in 35 years.

The fifth defeat in six matches was clearly too much for one fan who turned on blindside flanker Lukhan Tui after the match in an ugly push-and-shove before being dragged away by another fan.

The Wallabies lacked intensity in an error-ridden performance against an energetic Pumas outfit which continued its astonishing turnaround under new coach Mario Ledesma.

Not since 1983, in the first Test meeting between the two nations, has Argentina beaten the Wallabies in Australia.

But former Wallabies scrum coach Ledesma masterminded a drought-breaking result that will put the pressure back on his old boss Michael Cheika.

A long-range penalty from Emiliano Boffelli with three minutes to go sealed a famous victory for Argentina in front of a crowd of just 16,019 at Robina Stadium on the Gold Coast.

The Wallabies had a golden chance to steal a win in the final minute, as Israel Folau had an unmarked Bernard Foley to his right but inexplicably chose not to pass the ball to him and instead dropped the ball forward as he tried to score himself.

Australia spent most of the second half searching for the points that would have given them the lead after Dane Haylett-Petty’s 54th-minute try reduced the margin to 20-19.

But repeated turnovers and penalties – trademark deficiencies of the Wallabies in recent years – saw them come up with nothing in what proved a miserable night at the office.

It didn’t start that way though – three tries in the space of eight minutes early in the first half set the tone for a frenetic clash.

First, the Wallabies crossed for the opener after some magnificent open-side play from Haylett-Petty and Reece Hodge to set up Will Genia.

The Pumas responded quickly. Hauled down just short of the tryline, a prone Jeronimo de la Fuente popped up a ball for Nicolas Sanchez to streak through and score.

Four minutes later, Folau found himself in space and made the most of it, burning four Argentine defenders with right steps before planting down in the left corner.

But the Wallabies couldn’t find another try for the remainder of the half despite enjoying good field position, with their malfunctioning line-out handing Argentina a series of reprieves.

The visitors eventually made the most of it, destroying the Australian defence with an energetic 36th-minute counter-attacking burst that finished with Bautista Delguy shrugging off a Haylett-Petty tackle to go under the posts.

Sanchez extended Argentina’s lead to six points with a 48th-minute penalty, and they were never headed from there.

Springboks win a thriller against All Blacks

Across the ditch, the Springboks caused a huge upset with a 36-34 victory over New Zealand in their Rugby Championship clash in Wellington.

It was the first loss by the All Blacks to the Springboks in New Zealand since 2009, and the first by the Boks in eight matches against the All Blacks. The result means the championship stays alive until at least the fifth round of games in two weeks’ time.

-with AAP

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