Argentina 17-32 Australia: Andrew Kellaway hat-trick helps Wallabies past Pumas

Kellaway’s three tries took his season tally to eight, while Folau Fainga’a and Samu Kerevi also crossed to help the Wallabies rack up four straight wins for the first time in the southern hemisphere competition

Last Updated: 02/10/21 10:50am

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Australia secured fourth win in a row over Argentina in their Rugby Championship clash.

Australia secured fourth win in a row over Argentina in their Rugby Championship clash.

Winger Andrew Kellaway scored three tries as Australia finished the Rugby Championship on a high, ensuring Argentina’s tumultuous, months-long tour ended without a victory in six Tests.

The Wallabies scored two first-half tries within eight minutes while Argentina lock Tomas Lavanini was in the sin-bin and added three more in the second half to win 32-17 on Saturday at Robina Stadium.

Two late, close-range tries to replacement frontrower Thomas Gallo helped reduce the margin and add a small piece of consolation for the Pumas.

Back-to-back wins over Argentina followed successive victories against World Cup champions South Africa last month, helping restore the Australian squad’s confidence after three consecutive losses to New Zealand.

Quade Cooper looks to offload out of the tackle

Quade Cooper looks to offload out of the tackle

The unbeaten All Blacks had already secured the Rugby Championship title before their last match of the series later Saturday against South Africa.

The odds were already stacked against Argentina producing an upset against Australia before six Pumas players were banned from Saturday’s match because they broke coronavirus protocols.

The Argentine squad has been in and out of quarantine since before their first Test of the Rugby Championship in South Africa against the Springboks on August 14, and a mid-week cross-border trip to a health retreat by six players and two staffers resulted in a demoralising ban.

Pete Samu in action for the Wallabies

Pete Samu in action for the Wallabies

The players, including former captain Pablo Matera, reportedly unaware that domestic border restrictions between Queensland and New South Wales states had been reset, will be allowed to rejoin the squad Sunday ahead of the flight home.

Both teams missed shots at goal before flyhalf Quade Cooper gave Australia a 3-0 with a successful penalty in the 10th minute.

The Australians were dominating possession and field position but weren’t able to convert those advantages into points until after Lavanini was yellow carded in the 27th minute following a lineout infringement.

Hooker Folau Faingaa crossed for a try almost immediately and was instrumental in the next try seven minutes later.

He threw to the back of a lineout, swept around to collect the tap down and give a pinpoint pass for No. 8 Rob Valetini, who ran into space before unloading inside for Kellaway to score untouched.

Michael Hooper takes on the Pumas defence

Michael Hooper takes on the Pumas defence

The Pumas piled on pressure after being awarded a penalty just before halftime but Australia’s defense held and Emiliano Boffelli eventually took a penalty goal to make it 15-3 at the break.

The Australians took a 20-3 lead three minutes into the second half when center Samu Kerevi ran onto a well-timed pass from Quade Cooper after Reece Hodge ran a decoy.

Kellaway crossed for his second and third tries near the left touchline in the 54th and 58th minutes to put the result beyond doubt before the Pumas hit back with a pair of tries to Gallo.

For Australia, Japan-based Sean McMahon went on as a second-half replacement to earn his first test cap since 2017 and 38-year-old Greg Holmes became the oldest Wallabies player to appear in a test since World War II when he joined the front row in the second half.

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