A brain explosion from Israel Folau when he butchered a match-winning try was the twisted punchline when the bumbling Wallabies handed Argentina a first victory on Australian soil in 35 years.

"Pass it Izzy!"

Every voice in Cbus Super Stadium yelled or thought it but the Wallabies' great weapon went solo and had the ball dislodged with replacement five-eighth Bernard Foley unmarked outside.

Folau was just two metres from the tryline when he chose to go himself, a decision that was impossible to fathom because a Foley five-pointer would have won the game.


Instead, a fresh round of inquisitions must begin after a 23-19 loss on the Gold Coast that was the first loss to Argentina in Australia since an 18-3 crash at Ballymore in 1983.

All the crispness of the Wallabies' two fine tries in the opening 20 minutes dissolved in an ordinary closing hour of scrappy lineout work, handling errors and poor mauling.

The Wallabies love to believe they are the running wizards of world rugby but even a little less adventure and more smarts would have grabbed this win.

The puzzle about where best to play Folau was solved last night when he roamed dangerously from three positions in the Wallabies backline.

Folau scored his 33rd Test try last night but none have been better than his eye-popping effort 18 minutes into this Test.

Folau had already loomed at fullback, dashed on the right wing and crashed the ball up in midfield before taking this ball as off five-eighth Kurtley Beale.

He exploded. One right foot step after another and several gear shifts with pace changes from midfield and Folau was suddenly touching down in the left corner.

He beat five defenders and poor Pumas No.8 Javier Ortega Desio twice.


That superb try showed just how much Folau has become a great rugby player not just the great footballer he was when he switched from the AFL wilderness to the 15-man game in 2013.

In those days, he was too uncertain to roam much from his wing.

Last night, he'd run six times for 68m, busted five tackles, dished a lovely one-handed off-load and it was only half-time.

A late surge for tickets beefed the crowd up to a respectable 16,019, bigger than when the same teams played here in 2014 and more than 1700 above the crowd when NRL hot shots Melbourne Storm played the Gold Coast Titans last month.

The early Will Genia try was a beauty too with backline coach Steve Larkham shuffling his men in an unexpected shape with Folau in the centres and fullback Dane Haylett-Petty and centre Reece Hodge stationed wider in a long-range, sideline-to-sideline strike.

The very good was undone by the horrible back-to-back blunders late in the first half...two botched lineouts in prime attacking positions and then three missed tackles that allowed the Pumas to score an 80m try way too easily.


It was an ominous sign of an extended flat, messy period for the Wallabies, a 20-14 deficit and Beale's second handling error when he took eyes off Genia passes and copped both in the melon.

The Wallabies' set piece was inconsistent and it took the arrival of replacements Adam Coleman, Folau Fainga'a and Bernard Foley, into five-eighth, to sharpen things.

Folau was a decoy when Foley shifted the ball wide and Haylett-Petty crossed for 20-19, but it wasn't enough.