Australia beat Argentina 16-10 in a scrappy but entertaining Rugby Championship Test at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
Christian Lealiifano, who was flawless from the tee, kicked 11 points and also had a hand in Reece Hodge’s 32nd-minute try.
Argentina were the architects of their own downfall.
They were error-strewn, squandering multiple scoring opportunities with a lack of composure in the red zone.
A single Nicolas Sanchez penalty was all Mario Ledesma’s side had to show for their efforts until Facundo Isa crashed over in the 74th-minute.
It gave the Pumas some hope, but it was a fool’s hope.
Matt Toomua missed a late penalty, although, it did not prove costly as the Aussies held out for a deserved victory.
Both teams played with pace and tempo, but mistakes kept the teams tryless for half-an-hour
Lealiifano put Australia ahead with an 11th-minute penalty, but Australia kept giving away penalties in good attacking positions.
The opening quarter was brutal. Argentina put in some big hits on their opponents.
Australia, attacking with intent, found space in the wide channels.
The midfield duo of Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani caused the Pumas backs problems with their hard running and offloading.
Kurtley Beale, dangerous as ever, also found space every time he touched the ball.
Australia enjoyed two-thirds possession and territory, but their handling cost them several scoring opportunities.
Sanchez levelled on 24 minutes and a break after the restart, almost ended in a score, but a knock-on, five metres out, killed the attack.
Sanchez had a chance to kick at goal, but he took the penalty quickly only for possession to be lost.
Australia finally strike after a well-worked training ground move from a set-piece
Marika Koroibete came off his wing, took Lealiifano’s inside pass and broke into the Pumas’ 22.
Koroibete drew the defenders before sending the ball wide to Hodge via Beale.
Hodge, playing on the wing for only the second time, cut inside the cover defence and dotted down for the game’s first try, seven minutes before the break.
Lealiifano’s conversion and an early second-half penalty gave the Aussies some breathing space.
Australia slowed things down after halftime, looking to capitalise on Argentinian ill-discipline.
Taniela Tupou and James Slipper came on and immediately made their impact felt, winning a scrum-penalty at their first attempt.
Another penalty opened up a 13-point lead for the hosts as they turned the screw.
Australia’s scrum dominated, winning another scrum-penalty which allowed Lealiifano to extend.
Los Pumas squandered several try-scoring opportunities before finally crossing with six minutes to play.
It came from an 11-man lineout and driving maul. The maul splintered to the left and Isa crashed over.
Joaquin Diaz Bonilla’s conversion brought the game back to within one score.
Toomua missed a chance to end the game, but the Wallabies held on for a comfortable win.
Final Score: Australia 16 (10) Argentina 10 (3)
Tries – Hodge
Pen – Lealiifano (3)
Con – Lealiifano
Tries – Isa
Pen – Sanchez
Con – Diaz Bonilla
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZR)
Assistant Ref 1: Paul Williams (NZR)
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill (NZR)
TMO: Ben Skeen (NZR)
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Nic White, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 James O’Connor.
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 23 Matias Orlando.