Nine times out of ten that a team holds Australia scoreless in the second half of a test match means a victory for the opposition. But in Perth Argentina lost by one point as the Wallabies held on to win the match 14-13. Argentina ought to have won and the players know it.
Argentina was less than impressed with referee Nigel Owens throughout as Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe had to constantly tell his players to keep it quiet. There were occassions when it was the South American players showing frustration at not being able to make plays while at other times there were instances when the referee appeared to not have seen Australian penalties which infuriated the Pumas players. In the first half, for instance, Scott Fardy was on the ground in a defensive ruck well inside his 22 and played the ball on the ground to win the ball for Australia illegally. It was a clear yellow card offence. Australia, instead kicked out of its 22 and was safe to the disbelief of Pumas players.
In a game dominated by the wind and rain it was the team that had the wind at its back in both halves that was in control. In the first half it was Australia as the Pumas were stuck inside their own half and doing little mroe than defending. In the second half Argentina was in control but took too long to score points. When Juan Manuel Leguizamón scored in the 64th minute it had been twenty minutes of Argentina camped in the Australian half. Not knowing how to use the ball well to score more tries cost Argentina the victory during this period. Indeed New Zealand or Australia would be expectred to have scored twenty points or more.
Lerguizamón´s try made it a one point game as Nicolás Sánchez converted and had also lanmded a second half penalty to make the scores 14-13 after Australia had held a 14-3 half time advantage. Australia´s try was scored by fullback Israel Folau after the Wallabies showed patience and spun the ball. Argentina, though, appeared yet to get into the game and the crucial play came at the end of the first half when Tomás Cubelli was penalized with time up. Christian Leal´ifano was able to land a simple penalty to see Australia leading by twelve rather than nine points at the break. Had the penalty not been given then Argentina would have won 13-11.
A factor needing to be addressed is the breakdown. Australia was able to get to the tackle area faster and slow down Argentina´s ball. The Wallabies also won a number of turn overs in this area which aided the home side in holding on for victory. This will be addressed in the come days after Argentina´s players arrive back in Buenos Aires. Los Pumas now have two home tests and a good chance at winning for the first time. New Zealand may be without Dan Carter who was hurt in the game against South Africa.