Australia sealed their second win of the Rugby Championship campaign on Saturday as they edged Argentina 32-25 at Cbus Super Stadium.
Australia secured their second win of the Rugby Championship campaign on Saturday as they held out Argentina 32-25 at the Cbus Super Stadium.
It wasn't pretty as a slippery ball did not help the basics of the sides, with fumbles and stoppages a regular occurrence at the Gold Coast fixture.
However, the Wallabies got the job done against a side they also struggled against on home soil last year so they will be pleased to escape with a win.
Influential captain Michael Hooper scored two of their tries – coming either side of the break – while wing Peter Betham also crossed before a late Pumas onslaught left the home side sweating.
But they held on with a put-in delay from scrum-half TomÃ¡s Cubelli five metres out ultimately ending Argentina's hopes of their first victory.
The game started in ideal fashion for Australia when captain Hooper sliced through a hole in midfield before reaching out for an unconverted score. That was his second try of the Rugby Championship as his speed in back play makes him a lethal running threat game after game.
Argentina hit back five minutes later though and in real style when Manuel Montero raced down the left touchline for a long-range score that saw him slip the attempted tackles of Betham, Hooper and Bernard Foley. His stock consequently shot up in the Australians' eyes.
Unlike Foley before him, Sanchez landed his conversion to hand the Pumas a narrow lead.
Australia should have moved back in a poor first-half when Foley's break saw him dummy instead of passing to Rob Horne, who had a clean route to the line from five metres out. From that breakdown, Nick Phipps had a score chalked off as Hooper held Juan Imhoff.
Foley though would build some bridges with his Wallaby team-mates before the break with two penalties that handed the home side a 14-7 advantage going into the interval.
Unfortunately for the watching public on the Gold Coast, the opening quarter of the second stanza did not improve in terms of entertainment, despite Hooper's second try being scored in the 43rd minute. That score came from a Montero mistake as he failed to gather a chip.
Opposing fly-halves Sanchez and Foley would then trade penalties before the hour mark but when wing Betham slid over on 60 minutes to make it 29-13, the game seemed gone.
But then came a Pumas comeback as tries from Marcelo Bosch and JoaquÃn Tuculet in the 63rd and 70th minute respectively made it 29-25 with ten minutes left on the clock. Had Sanchez landed the second touchline conversion, hopes of an upset would have increased.
As it was, three points from Foley soon after the restart gave the Wallabies a seven-point buffer before Argentina missed a gilt-edged chance with four minutes to go, with Sanchez doing a Foley earlier as he failed to pass to his wing, Imhoff, who was under the uprights.
The Pumas would have one more opportunity to claim a draw when they packed down for a scrum five metres out, but then came Cubelli's error as the Wallabies held on for the points
Man of the match: Two tries from the captain make Michael Hooper our pick. Another tireless performance from the openside as he continues to lead the Wallabies by example.
Moment of the match: The try from Manuel Montero was something special as the Puma's finisher showed just what he can do, brushing off three tacklers en route to scoring.
Villain of the match: Nothing nasty to report.
Tries: Hooper 2, Betham
Pen: Foley 5
Tries: Montero, Bosch, Tuculet
Con: Sanchez 2
Pen: Sanchez 2
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Matt Hodgson, 22 Nic White, 23 Kurtley Beale.
Argentina: 15 JoaquÃn Tuculet, 14 Juan Imhoff, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan MartÃn HernÃ¡ndez, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 NicolÃ¡s SÃ¡nchez, 9 MartÃn Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan MartÃn FernÃ¡ndez Lobbe, 6 Juan Manuel LeguizamÃ³n, 5 MatÃas Alemanno, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 AgustÃn Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 MatÃas Cortese, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Benjamin Macome, 20 Rodrigo BÃ¡ez, 21 TomÃ¡s Cubelli, 22 JerÃ³nimo De la Fuente, 23 Lucas GonzÃ¡lez Amorosino.
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Television match official: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Assessor: Donal Courtney