Wallabies wallop hapless Argentina
EWEN McKenzie avoided becoming the first Wallabies coach to collect the wooden spoon in the Rugby Championship in commanding fashion in Rosario yesterday.
Fullback Israel Folau and his teammates ensured that after the Wallabies crushed Argentina 54-17 in the final game of this season's four-nation competition.
Folau bagged a hat-trick, scoring his first try after just two minutes, as Australia romped to its biggest win in 21 Tests against the Pumas since they first met in 1979.
The victory was also the biggest by the Wallabies since two 60-point thrashings of the US and Russia at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
It was during that World Cup hammering of the Americans that Adam Ashley-Cooper's scored the Wallabies last hat-trick..
Ashley-Cooper and his fellow winger Joe Tomane also touched down for the Wallabies in this huge win as did replacement forward Benn Robinson and debutant fly-half Ben Foley after they both came off the bench.
It was Australia's second win from six matches under McKenzie since he took over from the sacked Robbie Deans and captain James Horwill was thrilled with the performance.
"It's a real confidence booster for us. We're very, very happy with the result," Horwill said.
"We've been working very hard and it's good to see some of the things we've been working on come off.
"One to 15 really put in the effort, we're really pleased to get the result, especially over here in Rosario."
Australia, who had beaten Argentina 14-13 in Perth last month, had forwards James Slipper and Rob Simmons sin-binned, one in each half, while Argentina flanker Pablo Matera was also yellow carded. The result means Argentina remains winless after joining the Rugby Championship two years ago.
Pumas captain Juna Fernandez Lobbe gave credit to the Wallabies for their performance.
"We are disappointed, also we have to congratulate Australia the way they played," he said.
"They came here (with their backs) against the wall and played great rugby, we missed too many tackles."
The Wallabies now return to Australia before travelling to Dunedin in a fortnight to take on the All Blacks in the season's third Bledisloe Cup Test.
Australia 54 (Israel Folau 3, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Bernard Foley, Benn Robinson, Joseph Tomane tries Foley 2, Christian Leali'ifano 2, Quade Cooper cons Leali'ifano 2, Cooper pens)
Argentina 17 (Marcelo Bosch, Martin Landajo tries Nicolas Sanchez 2 cons pen).