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Argentina Stun Error-Prone Wallabies With Late Try In Sydney

  • 3 min read

Juan Martin Gonzalez scored a late winner as Argentina stunned Australia 34-31 in the Rugby Championship on Saturday to leave the Wallabies in disarray and without a win two games into the second Eddie Jones era.

Australia had scored two quick tries late in the game to overturn a 10-point deficit and take a 31-27 lead with five minutes remaining but the Pumas loose forward dived over a ruck on the Wallabies line to secure a famous victory.

Cheered on by a small but noisy band of their compatriots at the same Parramatta Stadium where they first beat the All Blacks in 2020, the Pumas secured only a third win over the Wallabies on Australian soil.

Samu Kerevi, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Len Ikitau and Nic White scored Australia’s tries, while Jeronimo de la Fuente, skipper Julian Montoya and Mateo Carreras also crossed for the Pumas.

Both teams suffered heavy losses in their opening matches of the truncated championship last week and Argentina will need an unlikely sequence of results in the third and final round to secure a maiden title.

“I am very proud of the fight we showed, we worked really hard and bounced back,” said Montoya.

“We know the game is not going to be perfect … still a lot things to improve. We need to enjoy the win.”

The win will be particularly sweet for Argentina coach Michael Cheika, who lost all seven tests when he was in charge of Australia and Jones of England.

Jones returned as coach in January this year after being sacked by England but his assertion that Australia can win a third World Cup in October now looks highly optimistic after last week’s thrashing by the Springboks and now a second loss.

“Gutted is the one word that comes to mind,” said Australia captain James Slipper. “I thought we started playing some good rugby but we kept taking the pressure off the Argentinians tonight.

“Ill-discipline really hurt us again. Quite a few us will have to look at those individual penalties because with performances like that, we won’t go far in the World Cup.”

It had looked like being a dream night for Australia when Nawaqanitawase intercepted a pass close to his own line with five minutes on the clock and raced the length of the field top score what looked like a winning try.

Australia had been heavily penalised all night, however, and another penalty gave the Pumas a chance to kick for the corner and attack the line for the winning score.

A try in the corner from Ikitau in the sixth minute had helped Australia to an early 10-0 lead but the Pumas were giving as good as they got and centre Jeronimo de la Fuente bulldozed over the line to help tie up the scores at 10-10 at halftime.

Hooker Montoya added a second try after the break while Australia lock Richie Arnold was in the sin-bin but scrumhalf White responded with a neat pivoted off the back of a five-metre scrum and in the 53rd minute to level up the scores again.

Fullback Emiliano Boffelli put Argentina back ahead with a long range penalty on the hour mark and centre Carreras ran a lovely line to put them 27-17 ahead eight minutes later.

That roused Australian into action and Kerevi touched down to cut the deficit in the 71st minute before Nawaqanitawase’s intercept had the crowd on its feet in anticipation of victory that never came.