The Wallabies leapfrogged South Africa to finish in second place overall in this year’s Rugby Championship after a 37-20 victory over Argentina on Saturday. Scores were tied with twenty minutes left, but a strong finish and a late try sealed the win.
At 20-20 with twenty minutes left, the Mendoza contest was finely poised, but 17 unanswered points by the visitors meant that they went away comfortable winners in the end.
Will Genia and Reece Hodge both scored to pull away and prevent a possible Argentina comeback.
Young Melbourne Rebels flyer Hodge scored two tries, had one disallowed and also played a part in two other tries, impressing coach Michael Cheika.
“He was very good. Reece is a very consistent player and got a few opportunities. Some of the moves were around him and he was able to finish.
“His defence was good as well. Reece is a good lad and he has still got plenty to offer. I was very happy with him.”
Hodge wasn’t completely satisfied though, demanding a stronger performance of himself.
“I guess it was good to get involved a bit more, but I am a bit upset over a few errors that I made,” he said post match. “There were a couple of tackles I missed and there is plenty for us to improve on before the Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane.”
Skipper Michael Hooper said he was proud of his team for getting through a tough challenge.
“Argentina turned up for a really big arm wrestle and that is what happened until the closing stages,” he said. “For an hour, it was a really hard game to be involved in, especially after our tough travel schedule.
“I am really proud that this young team has come to Argentina and got the win in a tough environment.”
For Argentina, it was their worst ever showing in the competition as they finished bottom of the table with six losses from six matches, and picked up no bonus points for the first time since joining in 2012.