Pumas vs Wallabies: Five things we learned

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

The Wallabies followed a remarkably similar path to success against Argentina in Mendoza as they did in Canberra, kicking clear after an average first half.

So, what are we talking about after the 37-20 win?

1. Hodge heroics

Reece Hodge's star is rising at a rate that will bring a smile to the dial of all Australian rugby fans.

Coach Michael Cheika simply couldn't keep him out of his starting XV after some big performances off the bench to start the year and since slotting back onto the wing, he has been one of the Wallabies' best.

He scored a double and was denied a third from a swooping Will Genia pass after the TMO intervened.

While the brace was critical to the Wallabies' win, he also showed on Sunday that he has the ability to set up others.

It was his line off a Wallabies lineout and a slick Michael Hooper pass which put Genia in for his try and it was a cutout, albeit a wobbly one, which put Marika Koroibete careering down the left hand sideline for his try.

With just 19 Tests to his name, Hodge looks every bit a player capable of being a fixture in this starting XV for a long, long time.

2. Foley's off night

The Wallabies flyhalf had a bad night in Dunedin and while this pales in comparison, he did leave 10 points on the field in Mendoza.

There were two missed penalties - one of those being a gimme - as well as two early missed conversions, that could have been far more costly than they proved to be.

In the end they only would have extended Australia's relatively comfortable winning margin but with the Brisbane Bledisloe around the corner, Foley must find his radar from the opening minute.Foley scored a try but struggled off the tee in Mendoza. Photo: Getty ImagesPost match, coach Michael Cheika backed his kicker and said he never thought to hand Hodge the tee instead.

"Bernard has an autocorrect button," Cheika said.

"He has days where that happens to him and he wants to nut those out and improve those.

"I think I’ve picked him for nearly every game I’ve coached - I have total faith in him no matter what.

"It would never enter my head to change it."

3. Young guns repay faith

Jack Dempsey had 16 big carries tonight, Izack Rodda formed a rock in defence and showed his class at lineout time, while Lukhan Tui earned praise from Cheika post match.

There is belief within the Australian camp that this starting second row - Rodda and Coleman - are the way forward and the backrow was impressive once more tonight.

Dempsey had his best game in Wallaby gold and his motor, having played the full 80 tonight, lends one to believe there is more where that came from.

4. Pumas fall well short

The Pumas finish The Rugby Championship winless. Photo: Getty ImagesSix starts, zero wins for the Pumas in The Rugby Championship.

It's the first time since 2013 that they've failed to notch a mark in the win column and it has put Daniel Hourcade under the pump.

Rumours were rife post match that he was going to resign and a thank you tweet sent post match added fuel to the fire.

He did not pull the pin in the press conference that followed but the blow torch will be applied come Spring Tour time.

5. Clinical Koroibete

There are few wingers in world rugby that would have scored given the opportunity Marika Koroibete had tonight.

A wobbly Reece Hodge cutout managed to find him in full flight and not even a huge palm on an Argentinian defender could knock him off balance enough to send him into touch.

He kept his feet and looked like he would fall flat on his face for 20 metres, stumbling all the way to the line to put a clinical finish on a quality Australian set.

He did make a couple of defensive errors - one particularly glaring one cost the Wallabies a try soon after he scored - and with that, he showed he remains a work in progress.

But another year of Test rugby will eradicate the large majority of those poor moments and he, along with Hodge, appear to be the best wingers in the country by a fair margin.

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