Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is "frustrated and disappointed" after his side failed to go top of the Tri-Nations standings after their 15-15 draw with Argentina last night.
Australia led 9-6 at halftime.
The winner of the match was set to pass the All Blacks into first place, but the draw means all three teams are on six points, with the All Blacks on top due to a superior points differential.
Argentina does have a game in hand as they have two matches remaining, while the All Blacks and Wallabies have one.
There were no tries in last night's match.
Wallabies flyhalf Reece Hodge and Argentina flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez kicked five penalties each.
The game was played in front of a 12,000, COVID-19 restricted, sell-out crowd at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The All Blacks meet Argentina at 8.45pm next Saturday.
Argentina 15-15 Australia
Five penalties apiece and the Pumas and Wallabies could not be separated.
80+2 mins: Australia haven’t given up just yet and continue to mount attacks on halfway, trying to induce an error in the Puma defence. But the opposite happens and Argentina break, before the ball is touched dead.
80 mins: Again both sides go to the air and Boffelli does superbly to retain composure under the high ball. But the ball eventually ends in Australia’s hands with time and space to run. This could be dangerous. The Wallabies almost break through the middle, then they have room on the right - go through hands! But they kick! And Argentina claim and concede the drop-out.
79 mins: A long drop-out is matched by an Australian bomb before the Pumas secure slow controlled possession. They invite another kicking exchange that ends with a Hodge up-and-under being marked inside the 22.
78 mins: From 40m out, 10m inside the left touchline, Reece Hodge MISSES his first penalty of the night!
77 mins: Scrum for Australia just inside Argentina’s half but the set-play off the back is not executed and the move breaks down. The Wallabies regather though and continue to keep the ball in motion, earning a penalty advantage for a Puma illegally playing at the ball in the ruck. Hodge has a golden opportunity to retake the lead.
75 mins: Daugunu tries to run out of defence but he’s smashed back in contact that felt like a vehicle collision. Australia accept the need to kick, and they do just that with a box kick down the line that comes with a superb chase and counter-ruck that secures the turnover.
74 mins: The Pumas push into Australia’s half along the right flank, waiting for the moment to head inside and pull the trigger. They do, and Sanchez launches a bomb, but the chasing flyer knocks on contesting for the mark and the Wallabies clear to halfway.
72 mins: Australia are rattled and now Hodge has lost the ball in contact on halfway. Argentina have stepped up the intensity and the Wallabies are struggling to hang on.
Penalty! Argentina 15-15 Australia (Sanchez 71)
Wow! Sanchez strokes over another 45m penalty into the wind to bring his side level!
70 mins: Argentina have slow ball on halfway with a host of bodies committed to the breakdown. The box kick is the only option, but instead of running it back Hodge belts a clearance miles. The Pumas return fire but it goes into touch and the Wallabies throw a quick lineout and set up a long slow attacking drive through multiple phases. Gordon then launches a garryowen that Argentina spill, but the referee’s arm points in the Pumas’ favour for offside!
Penalty! Argentina 12-15 Australia (Sanchez 68)
From 45m, into the wind, Sanchez makes no mistake. The gap down to just three in Newcastle.
67 mins: Argentina continue to kick from inside their own half, inviting Australia to run at them, and it works on this occasion with substitute Daugunu wrapped up just inside his own half and conceding a penalty.
66 mins: After being treated to a series of fast, flowing, open games in recent weeks, this one has been a bit more of a grind, and with subs coming on and off and plenty of set-pieces, the scruffiness is not disappearing soon. That is compounded when Australia shift lineout possession from right-wing to left only for Petaia to fail to hold onto the pass and cough up a turnover.
Penalty! Argentina 9-15 Australia (Sanchez 64)
Sanchez is back in the groove, kicking Argentina back within a converted try.
63 mins: Another Australian scrum, another Argentina penalty, much to tbe bemusement of the men in gold. The call goes against Sio, and now Sanchez has a shot for goal 35m out slightly to the right of the posts.
62 mins: Argentina secure the lineout but the resulting maul and ruck are messy. The clearout comes eventually and Sanchez sends up a huge bomb that Banks cannot claim. Argentina press forward and kick in behind the Wallabies defence but there are bodies back quickly and after slowing play down on the line the kick clear eventuates. Argentina try to counter at speed and find runners hitting the line, pushing the defence backwards. You can sense a break coming - until Orlando spills attempting an ambitious inside ball against his stride.
60 mins: Australia have the scrum feed but the front row collapses and Argentina are awarded the penalty. The kick to the corner gives the Pumas their best attacking platform of the night.
59 mins: Australia drive 15m after the restart but White is then happy to slow the play down and box kick with the wind. It works perfectly with the wind and rain causing havoc and the ball coming back the Wallabies’ way. The game is starting to stretch a fraction and there are gaps on halfway for Australia to exploit but Hodge drops a Philip offload and the move breaks down.
Penalty! Argentina 6-15 Australia (Hodge 57)
With the rain teeming down Hodge continues his 100% record with the boot.
56 mins: Hodge and Carreras exchange long kicks, a series that works in Australia’s favour with the wind at their backs and the Wallabies get a lineout on halfway. Off the back of that Hodge launches a wicked up-and-under that swirls and bounces dangerously and Argentina fail to handle it. The chasing pack are on to the scene in a flash and they quickly earn a turnover penalty.
54 mins: Argentina kick to Australia’s 22 but after setting up a drive through the middle Orlando loses the ball in contact with Simmons and the move breaks down. The Pumas have not clicked in attack.
52 mins: We’re in scrum set and reset purgatory again, just inside Australia’s half on Argentina’s right wing. The Pumas secure their own feed but then butcher a set play on the blindside before coughing the ball up two passes later heading back inboard. The hotheads from both teams come together again for a little argy-bargy and, like the game in general, it’s all a bit piecemeal and unsatisfying. The outcome is a penalty for Australia reversed in Argentina’s favour. In other news, it’s raining. That was not forecast.
50 mins: The two fullbacks have collided in heavy contact on halfway competing for a high ball, but both bounce back up as Australia run. They can’t make ground through the middle though and when they head left the line rushes up at speed and Koroibete is nailed before he can do anything with it.
48 mins: And Sanchez misses! He is human after all, dragging his penalty across the face from 35m out just in from the right touchline.
47 mins: Argentina have offered practically nothing in attack so far but they link a series of phases on the right wing that stem from a Matera charge-down on Australia’s 22. The Wallabies slow the ball down and eventually concede a penalty for their efforts.
Penalty! Argentina 6-12 Australia (Hodge 46)
Hodge, from point blank range, with the wind behind him, smashes the penalty over the bar and into Queensland.
Yellow card! (Montoya 45)
Argentina don’t clear far and the Wallabies secure lineout ball on the 22. That sets up a series of firm runs at the line in midfield before everything gets tight in close. Argentina respond by slowing the play down and eventually concede a penalty at the breakdown. And the outcome - as promised by the referee just before half-time - produces a yellow card for Montoya.
42 mins: We’re back underway in Newcastle, and guess what? Australia have ball and territory but Argentina steals a crucial lineout when it matters.
Half-time: Argentina 6-9 Australia
Australia dominant on-field and that late penalty edges their noses ahead on the scoreboard.
Penalty! Argentina 6-9 Australia (Hodge 40+4)
And after all that effort kicking to the corner, Michael Hooper finally accepts a kick for goal that Reece Hodge slots over with the minimum of fuss.
40+3 mins: Lineout secured again and the troops gather in the right corner. The ball comes out and Hodge shifts play a pass left then immediately back to the right where there’s almost a hole for Petaia. The Wallabies are camped on Argentina’s line with players buzzing around the contest. And the whistle goes again for a Puma infringement. “This is now an offical warning” says the referee to Matera. Argentina are lucky not to have received a yellow card in the past ten or so minutes.
40+1 mins: Australia secure the attacking lineout and repel a fierce Argentina drive. Somehow the ball comes out to White who sends play from right to left. It goes swiftly through hands until there’s an overlap for Koroibete to run into the corner. But the TMO takes little time identifying a massive forward pass against Banks in the build up. But still, play comes back for an earlier penalty and Australia kick for the corner for the umpteenth time.
40 mins: The Wallabies have repeat phases on Argentina’s 22 but it’s slow ball that goes nowhere. Australia are reprieved by a Puma knock-on in the ruck and after the whistle is blown there’s a set-to with Tupou to the fore, striking out at Sanchez’s buttock before the No.10 retaliates. It’s all very juvenile. There are penalties handed out against both sides, the order and subsequent reversal ends with an Australia penalty. They go to the corner again with half-time drawing near.
38 mins: Argentina run the ball off the back of a lineout just inside Australia’s half but after a couple of handy flat passes Hooper nails Petti in the tackle, dislodging the ball and Australia counter.
Penalty! Argentina 6-6 Australia (Hodge 36)
Hodge somehow adds the three points with a big booming sliced drive that set off way outside the left-hand upright but arced back over the bar.
35 mins: Slow ball for Argentina on their 22 so yet again they kick to halfway, and yet again the Wallabies run it back. Sio makes good ground, then Banks, White nimbly securing quick ball at the breakdown. The ball is magnetically drawn from the left centre to the right wing, but the momentum is sucked out of the move and play is eventually called back for an earlier penalty. After all their earlier kicks to the corner, Australia are finally going to kick for goal.
Penalty! Argentina 6-3 Australia (Sanchez 32)
I said 40m, it was nearer 30 - which equates to a gimme for the flawless Sanchez. Argentina have been nowhere tonight and somehow they lead by three points.
31 mins: Argentina kick just over halfway but their attacking lineout is stolen and Australia run it back. This time there’s a turnover in broken field and the Pumas counterattack at pace for the first time tonight through Delguy. They gain a penalty advantage 40m out against Tupou for offside so Sanchez tries to chip and chase but to no avail and play comes back for the three point attempt.
30 mins: The Wallabies pinch the lineout on halfway and get back into their groove of White feeding runners to hit the Argentina wall and chip away, collecting short gains repeatedly. The conservative strategy turns into an expansive one when play is shifted right but there’s three forwards in the line where a trio of outside backs should be and the ball hits one of them in the face and goes to ground.
27 mins: Australia continue their running game and for the umpteenth time they go through the phases, cross halfway, and concede a breakdown penalty just as momentum was building. Petaia was the decisive runner, Hooper the culprit at the ruck.
24 mins: Australia win a scrum penalty in kickable range so again they have a free-hit in open play. And again Paisami kicks deftly to the left corner for Petaia to chase and that forces the Pumas into a hurried clearance that sets up A1 attacking lineout position for the Wallabies. And guess what? Argentina steal another crucial lineout. The Wallabies are leaving a host of points on the field with sloppy mistakes near the line.
23 mins: Argentina have hardly run all evening and again they can only clear their lines off the boot. By contrast, Australia are running relentlessly and Matera is a little lucky not to be more heavily penalised for a deliberate knock-on around halfway attempting an intercept.
22 mins: And again it doesn’t pay off! The lineout is straightforward but when the ball moves from left wing to right it’s scruffy and by the time the outside backs are involved they’re cramped for room and shortly after contact Banks loses the ball forward. The Wallabies have had much the better of the opening quarter but they have yet to convert it on the scoreboard.
20 mins: It’s all Australia still with the Wallabies setting up another multiphase drive down the right, then the left, with quick ball coming back their way consistently without any serious linebreaks. Again a penalty opportunity is turned down and they kick to the left corner to apply further pressure.
17 mins: Hooper declines the three points on offer, a decision he immediately regrets when Paenga-Amosa’s lineout throw is not straight. Argentina then win a scrum penalty and Sanchez boots them clear towards halfway.
16 mins: And they use that ball superbly! The lineout is straightforward and it soon generates a penalty for Argentina pulling down the maul. That gives Australia a free hit so they spin the ball from the right wing to the middle of the park 20m out where a Paisami kick is dabbed through under the posts for the flying Petaia to chase, gather and touchdown in one movement inches from the line! The on-field decision is try, but the TMO shows the No.13’s toe was on the dead ball line when he completed the attempt. So close!
16 mins: Australia’s forwards are enjoying the better of their duel with the Pumas so far and they twice muscle their way to territorial advantage, the second of which allows White to box kick into the right corner and put Argentina under intense pressure. Only just securing breakdown possession on two occasions inside their own 10m red zone Bertranou eventually kicks clear, but it’s short and the Wallabies have great attacking set piece ball.
14 mins: The first scrum of the night takes an age to set then reset on halfway. Argentina win their own ball then head from the right touchline to the left with a series of flat passes. They run out of space and there’s a ruck near the whitewash that ends with Hooper falling on Paisami and the trainers are on to make sure there’s nothing seriously wrong with the powerful centre. He looks fine.
11 mins: Sanchez kicks the penalty inside Australia’s half and Argentina have their best attacking platform of the night so far. The Wallabies defend a slick lineout manoeuvre then Wilson lays a massive hit as the Pumas try to shift from forwards to backs and eventually Bertranou is forced to kick. Wright snaffles the garryowen just outside the 22 and runs it back 25m at pace, jinking between tacklers then sending the pass wide to his left. The counterattack looks very promising but as the move shifts back inside Hooper tires to spend his pass before finishing the catch and he knocks on.
8 mins: Australia again enjoy some fortune heading to their left edge with a multi-phase drive sending them across halfway before a smart kick drills Argentina inside their own 22. The Pumas safely execute their lineout and Sanchez belts clear. The Wallabies respond with a trick lineout that sends Paenga-Amosa on his way down the short side touchline but when the ball is turned inside Argentina win turnover ball at the breakdown.
Penalty! Argentina 3-3 Australia (Sanchez 6)
Argentina hit back immediately with a penalty of their own following a ruck infringement 35m out on an angle. In other words meat and drink for the dead-eye kicker.
Penalty! Argentina 0-3 Australia (Hodge 4)
Reece Hodge doesn’t miss from point blank range and Australia are on the board early.
4 mins: Better from Australia with White orchestrating a drive down the left hand side with a series of shot passes down the blind side before the scrum-half darts through the line and makes it inside the 22. The ball keeps getting recycled with Tupou and others crossing the gain-line until the whistle blows with the Wallabies under the posts.
2 mins: Hodge kicks off, Bertranou immediately kicks to touch on halfway. Australia’s first lineout is almost stolen but the Wallabies retain possession, drive a couple of phases, but the ball is slow and White box kicks for territory. Argentina get nowhere with ball in hand and again accept the clearing kick to halfway.
Kick-off! The battle for top spot in the Tri-Nations series is underway...
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