The Rugby Championship 2013

/ Match Pack

Australia 14-13 Argentina, Rugby Championship
Wallabies finally win under Ewen McKenzie
September 14, 2013
Date/Time: Sep 14, 2013, 18:05 local, 10:05 GMT
Venue: Subiaco Oval, Perth
Australia 14 - 13 Argentina
Attendance: 18214  Half-time: 14 - 3
Tries: Folau
Pens: Leali'ifano 3
Tries: Leguizamon
Cons: Sanchez
Pens: Sanchez 2
Australia celebrate Israel Folau's try, Australia v Argentina, Rugby Championship, Paterson's Stadium, Perth, Australia, September 14, 2013
Israel Folau scored Australia's try
© Getty Images
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Australia have finally notched their first win under new coach Ewen McKenzie, defeating Argentina in The Rugby Championship Test in driving rain at Patersons Stadium in Perth on Saturday.

The Wallabies had not won since the second Test against the British & Irish Lions in June, but they appeared to be heading towards an easy win in front of just 18,214 fans when they took a comfortable 14-3 lead into half-time - the first time they have led at the break in seven Tests in 2013.

Match Analysis by ESPNscrum's Andy Withers

  • Man of the Match: Michael Hooper once again was outstanding in dominating the breakdown and the loose, effecting pressure on the Pumas and pilfering ball the Wallabies had no right to secure. You simply can't overestimate his effect on the result of a one-point ball game.
  • Key Moment: Israel Folau's try, just as Gunson suggested he wasn't worth a spot in the starting team to fire up ESPNscrum users in our live commentary, gave the Wallabies an 11-3 advantage, which eventually prove would critical.
  • Hero of the Game: Difficult decision, but Ben Mowen deserves great credit as Australia's stand-in skipper - displaying super man-management and leadership in difficult and demanding circumstances. His decision-making was superb - not ignoring simple penalty goals tonight - and James Horwill might just be looking over his shoulder.
  • Villain of the Game: Can we say the weather? It was terrible. This was Perth. In spring. The conditions were so awful that it is churlish in the extreme to single out a player or an official given the lack of obvious errors.
  • Talking Point: Replacements these days seem to get action just for the sake of it, many sent out for just minutes as the clock winds down. Hence it was hugely notable that Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie chose to leave benched skipper Will Genia on the pine for the full 80 minutes.
  • Play of the Game: Israel Folau's try, as noted above, was critical to the shape of the game. The fact it featured good hands in such awful conditions is but a value-add. The Pumas, however, will lament the flimsy defence through which Folau powered.

But a determined effort from Argentina, coupled with poor discipline from the home side, left McKenzie with his heart in his mouth for the entire second half. The Wallabies conceded 12 penalties and failed to score after the break as they were dogged by the turnovers and handling problems that have been evident in six previous Tests this year. McKenzie will be pleased with aspects of his team's win, including the performances of his new skipper Ben Mowen and scrum-half Nic White.

The Pumas drew first blood in the seventh minute with a penalty goal awarded when Wallabies winger Nick Cummins failed to release the ball after attempting a risky run on the opposition try line, but the home side hit back four minutes later with a penalty of their own. The Wallabies grabbed the lead in the 17th minute when Argentina's scrum collapsed under pressure, and Israel Folau then crossed the line after breaking four tackles to register the fourth try of his seven-Test career. Christian Leali'ifano broke through Argentina's defence before quick hands from White and Quade Cooper gifted Folau the chance to convert.

Leali'ifano, who had just one failed goal kick next to his name in his short Test career, had his kicking boots on in the first half, even with the goal posts swaying, and his successes ultimately helped the Wallabies secure the win. But the Brumbies playmaker missed two chances in the second half that would have given the home side valuable breathing space.

The wet weather kept the forwards on both sides busy in the first half and, despite a brief respite during the break, more of the same followed upon resumption. The Pumas came out of the blocks in the second half, forcing the Wallabies to concede numerous penalties through ill-discipline and handling errors.

Argentina's No.8, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, sent a scare through the Australian camp when he crossed the line for his side's try in the 61st minute, which was followed in quick time by a penalty goal from Nicolas Sanchez. But the Wallabies' forwards held their nerve under pressure as rain buffeted the ground in the closing stages, the win ensuring Australia avoided their worst losing streak since 2005 when Eddie Jones was at the helm.

Australia just enjoyed the better of the lineouts. © Getty Images

Australia finally get off the mark in The Rugby Championship (video available only in Australia)
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