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“Moments that start to define the team”

  
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9/15/2013


Qantas Wallabies head coach Ewen McKenzie praised the Wallabies character and fighting spirit as Australia battled to a narrow 14-13 victory over Argentina in horrendous conditions in Perth on Saturday night.

The win was the Wallabies first of this year’s Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship campaign and gives them a much needed boost of condidence before they depart on a difficult tour to South Africa and Argentina.

"They're the moments that start to define the team and the character of the people," McKenzie said after the gutsy performance.

"I thought the guys fought pretty hard together. We found a method to play with carrying the burden of not being able to win. We've only won one from six games (in 2013).

"We haven't abandoned how we want to play, but you have to stick with what's relevant.

"There has been a fair bit of work going on from a lot of people and you need the win to validate what you've been doing.

"You have to start somewhere. A win tonight is a nice place . . . no one will back us to win [the next two Tests on tour], but now we've got a bit of confidence it's a dangerous thing."

The Wallabies led 14-3 at half time, thanks to some superb finishing from fullback Israel Folau and the trusty boot of inside centre Christian Leali’ifano but they had to weather the storm in the second half as the desperate Pumas threw everything at the Men of Gold’s line.

New Wallabies captain Ben Mowen was relieved to notch up a win in his first Test as skipper.

"I would have taken a 3-0 win . . . we just needed to win," he said
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"We know the Rugby public hasn't been happy with results . . . we didn't put our heads in the sand, we saw those comments and they motivated us.

"To get a win like that tonight . . . there were moments where we needed to turn the screws and we did that. There were huge moments of character that can propel this team forward."

McKenzie predicted more positive results ahead for the Wallabies.

"It hasn't been all doom and gloom. There has been some positive things," he said.

"But the scoreboard is the only thing that's relevant, we had to get that right and we did tonight so we have to keep building."

Meanwhile in Auckland the All Blacks have grabbed the lead in the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship with a comfortable if controversial 29-15 victory over the Springboks.

New Zealand scored four tries through two to captain Kieran Read and one each to Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick but the defining moment was the red card handed out to South African hooker Bismarck du Plessis in the 42nd minute, for his second sin-bin offence, after he was earlier shown a yellow card for what looked like a big but legitimate tackle on All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter.