Stunning second half fightback earns Australia 34-45 win over Argentina in Salta

Michael Hooper scored the opening try for Australia
Michael Hooper scored the opening try for Australia

Argentina 34-45 Australia, Salta

Australia came with a stunning second half performance in which they amassed 38 points as they managed to avoid a last-place finish in the Rugby Championship 2018 with a 34-45 win over Argentina in the final round in Salta on Saturday.

Australia entered the game with four defeats from five games in the tournament and another defeat at Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena would have made them the first Wallabies side to finish at last place since the tournament's inception.

Mario Ledesma's men had the upper hand as they had a 31-7 lead in the first half but could not maintain it after the break as the Wallabies showed terrific resilience.

The visitors looked off color in the opening minutes and Argentina made them pay dearly when Pablo Matera (2') and Emiliano Boffelli (4') dotted down and Nicolas Sanchez converted both to give them a 14-0 lead.

Australia responded back in the 14th minute when Michael Hooper raced over from a line-out and Bernard Foley improved it to reduce the trail to seven points but Argentina made a strong end to the first half in another 15 minute blitz that saw Matias Orlando (27') and Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias (31') touching down. Sanchez and Gonzalez Iglesias added a conversion apiece with the latter even kicking a penalty goal to take them to a 31-7 lead.

Australia looked rejuvenated in the second half and they made most of the third quarter with tries from Izack Rodda (44'), Israel Folau (48') and Dane Haylett-Petty (51') and Foley converted all the three tries as the scores became 31-28.

Even though Gonzalez Iglesias stretched Argentina's lead to six points with his second penalty goal in the 61st minute, further tries from David Pocock (64') and Haylett-Petty (66') followed by two conversions and a penalty from Foley saw the Wallabies complete a 34-45 win despite a sin-bin to Tolu Latu in the 77th minute.

The win meant Australia finished third in the table with nine points while Argentina finished last with eight points.


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