Rugby: Wallabies excel in keeping Pumas winless

Argentina's Patricio Albacete, center, is tackled by Australia's Benn Robinson, left, and Rob Simmons during their Rugby Championship match in Rosario, Argentina. Photo / AP
Argentina's Patricio Albacete, center, is tackled by Australia's Benn Robinson, left, and Rob Simmons during their Rugby Championship match in Rosario, Argentina. Photo / AP

The Wallabies have harnessed the strike-power of fullback Israel Folau to surge to a 52-17 win over Argentina and avoid the Rugby Championship wooden spoon.

Folau scored a hat-trick of tries among a seven-try haul as the Wallabies finally shook off the shackles and delivered their attacking promise.

It was Australia's second win from six matches under new coach Ewen McKenzie and while far from flawless, it was a marked improvement on last week's heavy loss to the Springboks.

"It's a real confidence booster for us,'' Wallabies skipper James Horwill said.

"The team played very well. One to 15 all put in an effort and we're very pleased.''

The Wallabies showed their intention to play a running game from the opening whistle and Folau put his side on the scoreboard in the third minute after some neat lead-up work from Quade Cooper and Joe Tomane.

It silenced the raucous Estadio Gigante de Arroyito stadium crowd but they were on their feet soon after as the Pumas did their best to assert themselves at the scrum.

Over eight minutes the teams packed seven scrums five metres from the tryline as referee Wayne Barnes blew five penalties.

He also yellow-carded loosehead prop James Slipper for repeated infringements but the Australians somehow managed to escape without conceding any points.

After the teams exchanged penalties for a 10-3 scoreline, the Wallabies made the most of Argentina losing flanker Pablo Matera to the sin-bin for a shoulder charge on a rampaging Scott Fardy.

Christian Leali'ifano slotted another penalty and then Folau beat his man to off-load to Adam Ashley-Cooper, who raced 20 metres to dive across the line.

Two minutes later Folau showed his class when he slipped through the Pumas defence untouched with the Wallabies out to a 25-3 lead.

The Pumas kept in touch however, Folau proving only human as he missed the tackle on centre Marcelo Bosch as he raced to touch down.

Leali'ifano didn't return for the second half due to a knee injury, with Matt Toomua on at inside centre but the loss didn't unsettle the visitors.

With hooker Stephen Moore and Horwill in the thick of the action, the Wallabies worked the ball to Cooper and Folau was in again for his third thanks to a no-look pass from Cooper.

While the Pumas managed another try to halfback Martin Landajo, it was otherwise one-way traffic.

Tomane got some reward for his busy game with a try at at the end of a 50m run, while reserve prop Benn Robinson and debutant Bernard Foley also crossed to cap a well-deserved win.

-AP

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