The Wallabies scrummaged their way to a 16-10 Rugby Championship victory over Argentina, with half-back Will Genia calling the shots in his Brisbane Test farewell.
The Japan-bound Queensland favourite handed Australia just their fifth win from the past 17 Tests and was cheered off after his 60-minute stint at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Argentina replied to Reece Hodge’s first-half try with six minutes to play to make it a six-point game, but the hosts controlled the ball from then on to eliminate any prospect of an agonising defeat.
Missed opportunities would have again frustrated coach Michael Cheika, but an improved defence and dominant set-piece were both promising signs just three Tests out from September’s World Cup.
In another encouraging sign, five-eighth Christian Leali’ifano was solid over his 51-minute contribution after starting in place of Bernard Foley while props James Slipper and Taniela Tupou both dominated after coming off the bench for Scott Sio and Sekope Kepu.
However, James O’Connor barely got a touch in his first Test action since 2013 after he replaced centre Tevita Kuridrani with 10 minutes remaining.
Early on, Australia’s tardiness at the breakdown cost them twice when they were within striking distance, while frequent dropped ball also undermined their attack for a second straight weekend.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 27, 2019
Yet Argentina’s ball security was no better, with the visitors blowing a try-scoring chance in the 26th minute.
Fortunately, Reece Hodge was more clinical when he had an opportunity to finish off a key attacking foray in the first half after fellow winger Marika Koroibete broke the line before the ball headed to the right flank.
IT’S A RECORD! ???
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) July 27, 2019
Hodge wasn’t helped by a floated pass from Kurtley Beale but he coolly collected the transfer and stepped inside a defender before diving over.
The relief was palpable among a crowd of 31,599 who then enjoyed the Wallabies securing a spate of scrum penalties, a welcome development after Australia’s long-term scrummaging woes.
WATCH: The insightful RugbyPass documentary with Nemani Nadolo, the Fijian playing at Montpellier
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