The Wallabies surprised everyone by running riot in Rosario, beating Argentina 54-17 to keep Los Pumas winless in the Rugby Championship. Israel Folau scored a hat-trick as Ewen McKenzie’s chargers restored some pride after a disappointing few months.
Australia would have dropped to sixth on the IRB World Rankings if they’d lost this one, but an impressive performance away from home helped McKenzie avoid becoming the first Wallabies coach to pick up a Rugby Championship wooden spoon.
It was their biggest victory over Argentina in 21 Tests, since they first met in 1979.
Fullback Folau picked up three tries and contributed to a few others as the visitors found gaps in the hosts’ defence, with Joe Tomane also looking good with ball in hand.
“It’s a real confidence booster for us. We’re very, very happy with the result,” said captain James Horwill. “We’ve been working very hard and it’s good to see some of the things we’ve been working on come off. We’re really pleased to get the result, especially over here in Rosario.”
Felipe Contepomi made his farewell after a record 87 Test caps and 651 points, but it wasn’t a game he will remember fondly after being hit off the ball by Rob Simmons, who was yellow carded.
“Congratulations to Australia, they came here against the wall and they played great rugby,” said Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.
The Wallabies have one more big challenge before their overseas tour, as they travel to Dunedin to take on the All Blacks in the final Bledisloe Cup Test in two weeks time.