Australia win scrappy affair with Argentina at Twickenham
Samu Kerevi scores two tries to ease pressure on Michael Cheika
Matias Moroni of Argentina clashes with Nick Phipps after the Australia player shoved one of the Argentina physios during the Rugby Championship game at Twickenham. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images)
Argentina 21 Australia 33
Samu Kerevi’s two-try brace drove Australia to 33-21 Rugby Championship victory over Argentina at Twickenham, to ease pressure on boss Michael Cheika.
The Wallabies secured just their third win since reaching last year’s World Cup final by beating the same opponents at this venue, forwards Adam Coleman and Dean Mumm also claiming tries in an ill-tempered affair.
Replacement scrumhalf Nick Phipps was hugely fortunate to escape a card after shoving one of Argentina’s physios to the ground during a second-half break in play.
Australia had Coleman and Michael Hooper sin-binned in a lacklustre first half, but were still able to secure their third win of the Rugby Championship to overhaul South Africa and finish second in the tournament
As for the first Rugby Championship match to be staged in the northern hemisphere, only time will tell if any repeat will be craved, or sought.
A jarring first-half chorus of England’s anthem Swing Low Sweet Chariot and a 60-minute Mexican Wave offered serious disservice to two teams desperate for victory. The healthy official attendance of 48,515 fell just shy of the desired 50,000 mark.
Argentina, the hosts, fell the wrong side of two early Television Match Official decisions, suffering yet another slow start.
Duly reprieved, Australia powered up the other end and Coleman stretched over for the opening try.
Dane Haylett-Petty jumped into Joaquin Tuculet’s tackle on the right wing, but escaped censure. The Wallabies wing was ruled not to have lost the ball in contact either, so after review Coleman’s try stood.
Jeronimo de la Fuente then tackled Genia off the ball, gifting Foley an easy penalty from the tee.
Iglesias missed his first shot at goal after Coleman’s high tackle, before Hooper was sin-binned for another high shot.
Argentina vindicated their call to go to the corner, lock Matias Alemanno powering over after a series of tight drives. Iglesias failed with the conversion, then missed a routine penalty to boot.
No sooner had Hooper returned from the sin-bin for Australia than lock Coleman was yellow carded, for yet another high tackle, this time on Martin Landajo.
This time the Pumas could take no advantage however, with Kerevi bustling in for the Wallabies’ second try.
Iglesias finally posted a penalty to signal half-time however, after Kerevi was pinged for blatant blocking.
Though Australia led 18-8 at the break, the Pumas quickly set about denting that advantage after the restart.
De la Fuente barrelled over after good tight work from Daniel Hourcade’s men, and Iglesias converted to cut the deficit to just three points.
All that was immediately undone however, when Alemanno’s spill gifted Kerevi his second score. Foley’s conversion then an Iglesias penalty left Australia leading 25-18.
Tensions ratcheted when Australia replacement Phipps shoved an Argentina physio to the ground during a break in play. Pumas wing Matias Moroni raced 20 metres to tussle with Phipps, sparking an ugly melee. Referee Mathieu Raynal awarded simply a penalty, in a bid to brush the incident aside.
Iglesias and Foley traded penalties, while Bath favourite Leroy Houston won his first Test cap for Australia, almost 11 years after last representing the Wallabies.
When former Exeter lock Mumm raced in for Australia’s fourth try, the Wallabies were home and hosed.