Once again Argentina fade badly after such a bright spark. How many times does it need to be said?
Australia looked a bit shell-shocked in the opening exchanges and subsequently reacted positively to some harsh words from Michael Cheika at half-time.
Here are how the players fared in the contest.
1. Lucas Nogueira 5
A penalty and two free-kicks conceded embodies the indiscipline of the Pumas tight five.
However, he was a great battering ram at the front of the rolling maul which was an effective weapon for Argentina.
Offered himself as a carrier without making many metres. Unfortunately, Enrique Pieretto was no better and received a yellow card.
2. Agustin Creevy 8
A perfect night at lineout time. The Argentinian talisman threw everything at the Aussies and seemingly always churns through the first tackle.
Trundled, bundled and bustled around the fringes to great effect. Once again, yanked at the 60-minute mark when the Argentinians start to dip.
3. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro 6
Another strong component of the rolling maul and lasted the full 80 which must be commended but made too many mistakes at scrum time.
A few sloppy handling errors trying to force offloads in the tackle area let him down as well.
4. Guido Petti 6
A really good game with the odd lapse of concentration. Should be applauded for managing the lineout and took a great catch off the kick-off.
Another who is following the trend of locks playing at first receiver moving the ball on nicely. Gave away a stupid penalty in the first half and faded badly as the second half developed.
5. Matias Alemanno 6
Had a good first half as the Pumas heaped the pressure on the Australians. His green scrum cap could be seen holding up runners, collecting lineout ball and helping his captain with carrying duties.
The inevitable and frustrating second half dip struck again however and he was lost in a tiring forward pack.
6. Pablo Matera 7
Along with Thomas Lezana and Agustin Creevy he was the main source of the front foot with his dogged carries and hard earnt yards.
Bailed the Pumas out with a classy turnover as well. Was a marked man, but moved the ball on intelligently taking defenders out of the game. Edged his battle with Ned Hannigan.
7. Javier Ortega Desio 5
Compared to his two back row partners he was completely anonymous. Didn’t get his hands on the ball nearly enough and the marauding Sean McMahon was allowed to gallop far too much.
If Facundo Isa were to return and Thomas Lezana move to openside, Argentina could have a world class back row on their hands.
8. Tomas Lezana 8
The two 8’s were by far the best ball carriers on the park. Lezana is not the biggest, but he commits to his lines at pace and peppered the gaps around the guard area.
9. Martin Landajo 7
Excellent game management from the little half-back. Along with Creevy he leads the team well and all the early tempo and momentum they had was generated from his ability to identify the small holes around the fringes of the ruck.
Sniped well and was rewarded with his try.
10. Nicholas Sanchez 6
Slotted his conversions with his rhythmic technique but kicked far too long out of hand on two occasions.
He stood off Genia to allow him to score in the final quarter and is easily targeted by teams who send big runners down his channel to eat up metres. A few nice touches, but once again an inconsistent afternoon for Sanchez.
11. Ramiro Moyano 4
He has shown nothing to suggest he belongs at international level. Daniel Hourcade continues to pick him ahead of Manuel Montero or Santiago Cordero and yet he never seems to do anything.
Hoofed an up and under straight into the sky, making a grand total of five yards and then ate up space running sideways when he finally touched the ball. Replaced by the far more effective Montero at half-time.
12. Jeronimo De la Fuente 5
Was far too passive in defence along with Orlando. Has good acceleration and isn’t afraid to take the ball into contact, but compared to the opposite centre partnership, De la Fuente and Orlando looked lightweight.
No attempts at strike moves off first phase ball either, leaving Creevy, Lezana and Matera to do all the carrying work.
13. Matias Orlando 5
There’s a real issue at centre. While both men work hard, neither are big enough to firstly break the line and secondly stop big ball carrier like Kuridrani and Folau running through their channels.
Orlando yielded buckets of yards to Kuridrani and Argentina paid for it. They need a big ball carrier in the centre, or bring Moroni back off his wing to his usual position.
14. Matias Moroni 8
Argentina’s best back. A really combative player who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work. Made a great steal over the ball near his own line and threatened whenever he had ball in hand.
15. Emiliano Boffeli 6
Missed his two attempts at goal which would have given Argentina some breathing space. Guilty of one terrible kick which handed Australia possession and put his own team under immense pressure.
However, he is a willing runner and often joins the line which shows that he is trying to involve himself.
1. Scott Sio 7
Won the scrummaging battle, receiving numerous penalties and free kicks.
Struggles against the more technical scrummagers but outplayed the two young Puma props. Not quite as prominent as Kepu in the loose but did his bit with a couple of physical interventions.
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau 7
A couple of brilliant chop tackles when the Argentinian runners were flooding through in the first half. Definitely aided the defensive effort close to their line, throwing his considerable weight into collisions.
His throwing was accurate except for one wobble. Jordan Uelese looked powerful and energetic when he came on.
3. Sekope Kepu 8
Loves a rumble with ball in hand and never seems to get stopped in his tracks. A nuisance in the loose and also made one big turnover in the second half.
Let down by his hands on two occasions but made up for it with his eagerness to carry and got a try for his efforts.
4. Rob Simmons 6
His moment of the match was undoubtedly his offload in the build-up to Israel Folau’s try. Looked to be losing the battle of the tight fives in the first half but nonetheless made his tackles and fronted up.
Definitely one of the players Michael Cheika was singling out for a lack of Test match intensity.
5. Adam Coleman 7
One of the top tacklers in the Australian ranks and used his long arms to wrap up the ball in both the tackle area and the maul.
Definitely added grunt to the front row which had the ascendancy in the scrum. He still doesn’t carry enough for such a big man, he should look to take some of the weight off Hooper, McMahon and Kepu’s shoulders.
6. Ned Hannigan 6
Australia are starting to utilise Hannigan as a lineout option more and more, using his height and long limbs to pluck a couple of arrows out of the sky.
Grew into the game after an inconspicuous opening 40 minutes. Not yet the finished article and Jack Dempsey is chasing him down hard.
7. Michael Hooper 9
Vintage Michael Hooper. Burst few would be tacklers and offloaded excellently to Israel Folau. Buzzed around the field, ripping balls in the contact area, pumping his legs hard and making valuable metres.
The scrappy flanker accelerated past the first defender on a handful of occasions.
8. Sean McMahon 8
Double figures in the carrying department and his break for the Nick Phipps try late on showed that he was full of running right to the end.
Strides with purpose, lifting his knees and gaining yards after contact. After the first Test against New Zealand he has only grown into the competition.
9. Will Genia 9
Varied his game wonderfully on Saturday. Started off with a great cover tackle on Matias Moroni before he started influencing the game with his range of short passes and quick darts.
A great miss pass for Israel Folau’s try and took his try well realising that Sanchez was backing off.
10. Brendan Foley 6
A great try-saving tackle, getting his arms under the ball and scooping Thomas Lezana into touch. Elsewhere, he orchestrated the backs expertly in the second half once the Pumas began to tire.
Wasn’t as easy to run through as Nicholas Sanchez despite runners coming his way.
11. Reece Hodge 6
One aggressive kick return was all we really saw of Hodge today. Runs really hard when called upon but was non-existent in the first half.
It’s a shame he doesn’t join the line more and hit lines of Foley because he is a hard man to bring down. Not too much of note from Hodge.
12. Kurtley Beale 6
Uncharacteristically terrible kicking with ball in hand, scuffing, hooking and yanking the ball almost every time he tried to clear.
Otherwise, he outplayed his opposite number. A lovely looping pass and loves feeding Kuridrani outside him.
13. Tevita Kuridrani 8
One of the hardest centres in world rugby to bring down. Gives Australia real impetus going forward with his horsepower and direct style.
The Argentinian centre pairing made the mistake of drifting and consequently let him straighten up and fly over the advantage line.
14. Henry Speight 6
Sent down Nicholas Sanchez’ channel to great effect on two occasions and bristled with energy when the ball finally found him out wide.
The jury is still out on Speight who alternates great and average showings for the Wallabies. A powerful runner but wasted in games like this that don’t open up until the latter stages.
15. Israel Folau 8
Unusually started the game with two dropped balls to prove that he is mortal after all. Eventually, his class shone through.
Impossible to stop inside the 15 metre line with even the smallest of gaps, grabbing two tries for himself. A freak athlete who now has ten tries in seven games for Australia in the past calendar year. Lethal, pure and simple.
Max Hamid, Pundit Arena
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