Australia just edge out Argentina in tense 23-19 finish

After consecutive defeats to world champions New Zealand, the Wallabies have fought back to win two out of two, having beaten the Springboks last week, handing under-pressure coach Robbie Deans more breathing space.

Argentina remain winless after losing to the All Blacks last weekend, following a draw in Mendoza with South Africa and a defeat in Cape Town.

Trailing 6-3 at half-time, the Wallabies found themselves further behind after two Argentine tries within 12-minutes of the second half starting.

The Pumas crossed for the first try of the match in the 50th-minute through Tomas Leonardi and then followed up with another two minutes later from Julio Farias Cabello.

But Argentina failed to convert either one, although in the 58th-minute they added three more points from a penalty goal to lead by 13.

The flurry of attacking forays by the visitors finally sparked the Wallabies to life and after a number of phases a hard-running Pat McCabe crossed to get them back within six points with 20-minutes to go.

The Gold Coast crowd didn't have to wait long for a second try after scrum-half Nick Phipps spotted a gap on the blindside and released Digby Ioane.

Berrick Barnes added the extras and Australia went further ahead in the 79th minute when substitute Kurtley Beale slotted a long-range penalty goal from close to the sideline.

Dropping the ball

It set up a tense finish, but some solid defending saw the Wallabies hang on.

Australia dominated possession in the first half, but failed to capitalise despite a number of attacking moves.

The Pumas took just three minutes to register their first points on Australian soil since 2003 when flyhalf Juan Martin Fernandez converted a penalty goal attempt.

In contrast, Barnes' recent goalkicking form deserted him as he missed his first two three-point attempts.

He finally got the home side on the board after 26-minutes with a penalty.

His success came just minutes after Radike Samo crossed in the corner, only for the referee to disallow the try for dropping the ball.

The level-pegging didn't last long with the Pumas awarded another penalty, which Fernandez converted to extend their lead back to three points, which they took into half-time.  – Sapa-AFP.


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