The Qantas Wallabies have held off a late surge from Argentina at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast, keeping intact their unbeaten run on Australian soil in 2014 with a 32-25 victory.
The victory meant that Australia held on to the Pumas trophy for another consecutive year.
Australia’s 62 per cent possession and 669 run metres, highlighted Australia’s dominance throughout the match despite the close score line.
Australia started the match brilliantly with quick ball from the base of the ruck allowed the Qantas Wallabies to put Michael Hooper in space to score the first try of the match in the third minute.
Australian flyhalf Bernard Foley was unable to convert, giving Australia an early 5-0 lead.
A quick turn over by Argentina meant Australia’s left flank was exposed.
Pumas winger Manuel Montero took advantage of Australia’s mistake, evading the covering Wallabies’ defence to score a brilliant try, allowing Argentina to take a 7-5 lead.
As the slippery conditions started to take hold, the Wallabies continued to out-muscle their Argentinian opponents.
A penalty at the breakdown allowed Bernard Foley to convert, taking Australia into the lead 8-7.
The battle at the scrum was highly anticipated in the week leading up to the Test, and the contest did not disappoint as Australia out muscled Argentina on multiple occasions.
In the dying stages of the first half the Wallabies attack intensified as they used their possession to push towards the Pumas try line, but desperate defence from Argentina saved them from potentially two Australian tries.
The Wallabies took a penalty right in front of the posts in the 38th minute to extend their lead to 11-7.
As the Qantas Wallabies continued to attack, racking up multiple phases, they took the lead to 14-7 with a penalty from Bernard Foley just before half time.
Australia started the second half with gusto, not allowing Argentina any possession as they smashed through the Pumas defence.
It was too much for Argentina as Michael Hooper galloped 35 metres to his second try of the night, taking Australia to 21-7.
The battle in the forwards continued as both packs looked to secure forward momentum for their backs.
James Slipper was instrumental in containing Argentina with his aggressive tackling and domination at the scrums.
In the 49th minute, local Gold Coast hero Scott Higginbotham entered the fray, much to the delight of the crowd.
Australia’s lead continued to grow as the pace of the match began to ware down Argentina, with Bernard Foley kicking another penalty to take the score to 24-10 in favour of the home nation.
A quick reply from a penalty through Nicholas Sanchez saw Argentina claw three points back to take the score to 24-13.
Scrumhalf Nick Phipps made a brilliant run, slicing through the Pumas defence as he flicked a pass out wide that floated beautifully into the hands of a flying Peter Betham who scored in the corner bring the score to 29-13.
The spirit of Argentina could not be questioned as they continued to attack Australia’s line.
A succession of quick penalties against the Qantas Wallabies allowed Argentina to attack on the left flank with outside centre Marcelo Bosch crashing over for a try, cutting the gap to 29-20 with momentum swinging towards the South Americans.
Some inventive play from Argentina in Australia’s defensive zone created headaches for the Wallabies defence.
A kick in behind the Wallabies by flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez allowed winger Juan Imhoff to score in the corner, closing the gap to 29-25.
The Wallabies mettle was tested, but again the pressure from the men in gold forced Argentina to make mistakes. Some excellent work from replacement Matt Hodgson at the breakdown allowed Bernard Foley to kick a penalty and take the score to 32-25.
Argentina’s late fight back continued as a succession of scrums tested the Australian pack, but the pack held strong and were able to regain possession to clear the ball to the touchline in the 80th minute.
The victory means Australia continues its unbeaten run at home in 2014 with Wallabies losing only one of their last eleven matches.
The Qantas Wallabies next match will be on Saturday 27 September in Cape Town, South Africa against the Springboks.