Argentina 26-41 Australia: Second-half comeback sees Wallabies overcome Pumas in Mendoza

By Sports Desk August 06, 2022

Australia produced an excellent second-half showing to come from behind and secure a 41-26 victory against Argentina in Mendoza in the 2022 Rugby Championship.

Having suffered a 2-1 series defeat at the hands of former coach Eddie Jones' England last month, the Wallabies may have been fearing the same with Michael Cheika leading Argentina.

But Australia avoided a similar fate on Saturday despite a spirited first-half performance from the hosts.

Los Pumas scored the first try after just five minutes, with Pablo Matera picking up a short pass before diving over the line.

An Australian penalty was followed by two for Argentina, before the Wallabies fought back to narrow the deficit to three points after 17 minutes as Jordan Petaia was given the ball out of a scrum before powering through the opposition defence to cross.

The boot of Emiliano Boffelli added more penalty points shortly thereafter, with the contest becoming more tense as Argentina attempted to pull away, but a stubborn Australia side managed to stay in the game.

Boffelli scored another three points just before the break as his team went in 19-10 ahead, but Fraser McReight scored Australia's second try eight minutes into the second half off the back of a rolling maul.

Argentina may have thought they had seen off their opponents when they responded with a try of their own through Juan Martin Gonzalez as he went over in the corner, but when a collapsed maul led to a penalty try for Australia in the 55th minute, with lock Matias Alemanno receiving a yellow card, it provided the impetus the visitors needed.

Reece Hodge scored a penalty to give the Wallabies the lead, before a try from Folau Fainga'a took the wind out of Argentina's sails and Len Ikitau rubbed salt in the wounds with another deep into overtime, sealing an entertaining win for Dave Rennie's team.

Pumas feel comeback brunt

Having come back from 31-20 down with 15 minutes to go to beat Scotland in July, Cheika's new team know what it takes to overturn a deficit.

Unfortunately for him, his former side also have the capacity for a comeback, as they demonstrated with vigour when taking full advantage of dropping Argentinian heads, scoring 24 unanswered points after Gonzalez's try in the 55th minute.

Loss of Alemanno makes all the difference

A yellow card for Alemanno after the collapsed maul that led to Australia's penalty try was the real turning point in the game.

From that point on, Argentina did not score another point, with Rennie's side wearing them down with relative ease in the closing stages.

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