Bonus revenge for Australia

Date published: July 26 2015

Australia outscored Argentina by four tries to none, gaining revenge for their 2014 defeat by winning 34-9 in Mendoza on Saturday.

Adam Ashley-Cooper scored a try with the final play of the match to secure the bonus point for the Wallabies, whose bench played a major role once again.

Argentina often sparkled individually but never showed enough control or composure when it mattered most, committing basic errors that undermind their efforts.

For a while the Wallabies were sucked into an attritional battle without making much progress. However a special try for Dean Mumm, the Australia lock who recently returned from a stint in England with Exeter Chiefs, proved to be a finishing blow that killed off the hopes of their hosts.

Soft penalties meant that Australia made harder work of the contest than required, particularly with off the ball incidents that cancelled out their penalty advantages.

Quade Cooper's yellow card in the second half was inevitable and if they leak penalties against New Zealand in two weeks time Australia will be in real trouble.

Despite that the Wallabies greater structure shone through as Argentina relied on moments of individual magic, espeically from the livewire full-back Santiago Cordero, to make any real progress without aimlessly kicking the ball away. After that thrilling finish to last year's Rugby Championship with their first win in the competition, Argentina have started 2015 very slowly.

Israel Folau was lucky not to see yellow for a mid-air challenge on Nicolás Sánchez in the opening minutes, with a penalty against the Wallabies ending a dominant opening period from the visitors where they enjoyed 90 percent possession.

Australia lost Matt Toomua to an early concussion, forcing a re-shuffle in the backline with Quade Cooper replacing him as Sánchez pushed a long-range drop goal attempt narrowly wide.

More loose kicking then cost Sánchez and his side when Folau returned one with interest, combining with Bernard Foley to release Joe Tomane down the touchline for the opening try. 

Excitement was never far away when Cordero was involved for the home side but Argentina lacked that final touch to finish off some promising early moments.

They were lucky the Wallabies persisted to squander their advantages like when Will Skelton saw a penalty reversed for grabbing a player around the neck at the bottom of a ruck.

Inaccuracies from both sides meant the Wallabies still led 5-0 approaching the half-hour mark, before Sánchez knocked over his first penalty to put the hosts on the scoresheet.

Australia though persisted to threaten with the ball in hand, a show-and-go from the captain Stephen Moore being a highlight as the Wallabies forced a penalty out of the defence which Foley was unable to convert.

Argentina had to control the scrum to have a chance of winning and after a quiet week against New Zealand they looked to have rediscovered their rhythm, with James Slipper feeling the heat as a result.

Foley rediscovered his accuracy to add a first penalty but Sánchez instantly responded with the final act of the half to leave Australia ahead by two points at half-time, leading 8-6.

A second penalty from Foley right after half-time stretched the visitors advantage to five points, even if it wasn't the cleanest of strikes from the Waratahs fly-half whose form off the tee is becoming a minor concern.

Argentina weren't short of attacks but the Wallabies, more often than not through the excellent David Pocock, were always there ready to turn over possession or slow them down. Appropriately the openside put in an impressive run down the wing, before being bundled into touch by the cover defence.

Another penalty from Foley gave the Wallabies a comfortable eight-point lead as they welcomed back Mumm from the bench for his first Test appearance since 2010.

Argentina did receive some reward for the efforts of Cordero and Juan Pablo Socino when Sánchez added this third penalty coming up to the fourth quarter, making it 14-9 and keeping los Pumas in the hunt.

Mumm though crushed those hopes with a barnstorming run of his own down the touchline, fending off tacklers to score a fine solo try in the corner and open up the gap to ten points.

Indiscipline however kept pulling the Wallabies back into the game, with Cooper heading to the sin-bin for a high tackle, but a crucial steal from Rob Simmons prevented Argentina from attacking through their rolling maul.

Foley curled in a fourth three-pointer to make it 22-9, putting the result almost beyond doubt with ten minutes to go as Argentina's attack failed to make in-roads, capping off a frustrating night for their supporters.

There was still time for Australia to add a third try – Tevita Kuridrani the man to go over for his second score in a week after a good pass over the top from Foley and the bonus point wasn't far behind. 

Ashley-Cooper was the man to finish it off but only after great input from Kurtley Beale, on his 50th cap, and Folau to make sure Australia head back home with all five points.

The bonus point also moves them level on points with New Zealand at the top of the Rugby Championship ahead of their meeting on August 8.

The scorers:

For Argentina:
Pens: Sánchez 3

For Australia:
Tries: Tomane, Mumm, Kuridrani, Ashley-Cooper
Cons: Foley
Pens: Foley 4

Yellow Card: Cooper

Argentina: 15 Santiago Cordero, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 6 Javier Ortega Desio, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Replacements: 16 Santiago Iglesias Valdez, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Matías Díaz, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Lucas González Amorosino.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Kurtley Beale.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

by Ben Coles