Wallabies pull off astonishing comeback to beat Argentina

Publish Date
Sunday, 7 October 2018, 2:17PM
Australia's Adam Coleman runs with the ball during a Rugby Championship match against Argentina. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Prados)
Australia's Adam Coleman runs with the ball during a Rugby Championship match against Argentina. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Prados)

The Wallabies have pulled off an astonishing comeback to somehow beat Argentina after producing arguably their worst half of rugby ever.

Trailing by 24 points at halftime, the Wallabies piled on five unanswered tries in the second half to show what they are capable of when everything goes right.

Whatever coach Michael Cheika said to his players at halftime should be read out before they kick off next time because the first 40 minutes was atrocious.

All the talk about grand master plans and how things are a lot better than they appear looked like hot air after they went to the break 31-7 behind.

Needing to win to avoid finishing last in the Rugby Championship, it was alarming to see the Wallabies fall apart so badly in the opening half given what was at stake and how much they had talked themselves up during the week.

While the coaches and players will focus on the positives from the second half, that turnaround won't mask the fact that there are still major problems with the Wallabies and changes need to be made.

The win could be enough to save Michael Cheika from getting the axe but with Australia's next match against the All Blacks in three weeks, the pressure for improvement or drastic change will continue to bubble along.

The Pumas are a much better side under Mario Ledesma than the Australians give them credit for and they exposed everything that's wrong with Australia's game at the moment.

Australia's defence was a shambles right from the outset. The Pumas have got a sharp attack and were in hot form but the Wallabies tackling was too poor to believe.

The writing was on the wall from the second minute when the Pumas' big blindside flanker Pablo Matera waltzed through a gaping hole at halfway and galloped away to score under the posts.

Two minutes later the Pumas were in again, scoring from a counterattack inside their own quarter when Reece Hodge lost possession and Emiliano Boffelli finished off down the other end.

The Wallabies got on the scoreboard when Michael Hooper charged over from close range but the mistakes were still stacking up and frustrations were started to boilover.

The missed tackle count kept rising and so did the penalty count as the Wallabies gave away some of the dumbest penalties all season. And there were clear signs of panic with players pushing passes that weren't on and dropping the ball cold, with Kurtley Beale one of the chief offenders.

Outside centre Matias Orlando and reserve halfback Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias strolled over for tries as the Pumas went to the break leading 31-7, already more points than they had ever scored against Australia in a full match.

Cheika has always worn his heart on his sleeve and was struggling to contain his emotions from the coaches' box but he managed to compose himself and get the right message through during the interval because the Wallabies were a different team in the second half.

Whether it was for pride or to save their own jobs, everything clicked after the re-start and the points piled up.

Izack Rodda got things going when he pounced over in the 44th minute the Israel Folau went through then around the Pumas defence to cross four minutes later.

Dane Haylett-Petty got himself a double and David Pocock was rewarded for another tireless effort when he wriggled over an inside pass from Will Genia was knocked down and somehow the Wallabies were in front.

LOS PUMAS: Emiliano Boffelli, Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo De la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano, Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertranou, Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Ramiro Herrera, Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Reserves: Julian Montoya, Santiago Garcia Botta, Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Sebastian Cancelliere.

WALLABIES: Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau, Reece Hodge, Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Folau Faingaa, Scott Sio. Reserves: Tolu Latu, Sekope Kepu, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Caleb Timu, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Tom Banks.


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