The Wallabies have suffered an agonising 34-31 defeat against Argentina on Saturday evening, with the Pumas scoring in the 80th minute to clinch a thrilling upset win at Commbank Stadium.
Eddie Jones’ men were trailing by ten points in the 70th minute before diving over twice to reclaim the lead, including a dazzling intercept try from winger Mark Nawaqanitawase.
However, Pumas fullback Emiliano Boffelli shattered the hearts of every Wallabies fan in western Sydney by barging over moments before the siren, handing Australia its second consecutive loss under Jones.
MATCH CENTRE: Wallabies vs Pumas live score
The Pumas dominated possession and territory throughout the topsy-turvy contest, benefiting from a yellow card to Wallabies lock Richie Arnold in the 40th minute.
Australian captain James Slipper confessed he was “gutted” with the result, lamenting his side’s sloppy errors and lack of discipline — the Wallabies coughed up 14 penalties across the match.
“We kept taking the pressure off the Argentinians, and they kept coming back,” Slipper told Stan Sport after the three-point defeat.
“Ill-discipline really hurt us again tonight. You just can’t win Test matches playing that kind of rugby.”
Australia, who lost centre Lucio Cinti in the first half to a suspected shoulder injury, now sit bottom of the Rugby Championship ladder, also sliding down to seventh on the world rankings. Meanwhile, Argentina coach Michael Cheika has now won back-to-back Tests against Jones, his former Randwick teammate.
The Pumas got off to an electric start as centre Lucio Cinti wove through Australia’s defensive line with a sizzling sidestep in the opening minute. Argentina was awarded an early penalty, but Emiliano Boffelli hit the upright from the regulation position — a bad early miss for the visitors.
The Wallabies struck back almost immediately, with Quade Cooper’s lofted pass finding Marika Koroibete on the left wing before an awkward basketball pass to Ikitau, who scored near the corner flag in the fifth minute. However, Ikitau injured his shoulder while diving for the try, replaced in the backs by young gun Carter Gordon and later taken to hospital for scans.
Cooper nailed the conversion and extended Australia’s lead to ten points after booting a penalty kick a few minutes later.
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The Pumas got themselves on the scoreboard with a simple penalty kick after Allan Alaalatoa was caught off his feet at the breakdown in the 20th minute.
Australia’s defence was tested, struggling to get the ball out of their half — Pumas centre Jeronimo de la Fuente barged over in the 26th minute for Argentina’s first try, with Boffelli booting the conversion to equal the scores.
The patient Argentinians continued probing in the Wallabies’ half before Gordon swooped on a loose ball and sprinted along touch, brought down less than ten metres from the opposition tryline.
Australia was gifted a golden opportunity after Cooper’s gorgeous kick for touch, but the subsequent rolling maul backfired on the Wallabies when Tomas Lavanini held up the ball, with Argentina awarded a scrum.
Disaster struck for the Wallabies moments before half-time, with Arnold sent to the sin bin for illegally slowing the ball down.
Rather than taking the three points, Argentina continued peppering the tryline — but in a crucial moment, hooker David Porecki got under Julian Montoya in the scrum to secure a penalty, ensuring scores were tied at half-time.
Early in the second half, Matias Alemanno came off the field after copping a high shot. In the subsequent play, it looked as though winger Rodrigo Isgro was through after an inside step, only for fullback Tom Wright to somehow prevent what appeared to be a definite try.
Regardless, after the ill-disciplined Wallabies conceded yet another penalty, captain Julian Montoya steamed past Allan Alaalatoa for the Pumas’ second try, with Boffelli adding the two extra points.
Pablo Matera was lucky to avoid sanction after entering the ruck from the side for a cheap shot on Wallabies halfback Nic White.
Australia returned serve almost immediately, with White deceiving the Pumas defensive line off the back of a scrum set-piece and diving over near the posts almost untouched — scores were tied once again with 25 minutes to play.
Argentina crept ahead with another Boffelli three-pointer in the 60th minute following a turnover penalty at the breakdown.
Rob Valetini gifting the visitors a needless penalty for shoving Matias Moroni to the deck, and Wallabies coach Eddie Jones threw his headset at the ground in frustration.
The Australians were plagued by knock-ons, and Pumas winger Santiago Carreras seemingly put the outcome beyond doubt by taking advantage of a sloppy missed tackle from Dave Porecki, scoring in the 70th minute.
However, the Wallabies struck back a couple of minutes later when Cooper set up a try for Samu Kerevi with some fancy footwork and a well-timed offload — the conversion kick reduced the deficit to just three points.
The Pumas were threatening to extend the lead, probing near the posts before Nawaqanitawase’s game-changing intercept, plucking the ball and sprinting 90 metres before scoring under the posts to give Australia the lead.
One final defensive effort from the Wallabies was required, but they couldn’t prevent Boffelli steaming over following multiple phases on the tryline in the 80th minute — the Australians pleaded for a TMO review for a potential knock-on to no avail.
The last-gasp try gave Argentina its first victory since November’s one-point triumph over England, who were coached by Jones.
“That was a tough game. Credit to them, right until the end they dug in,” Nawaqanitawase told Stan Sport at full-time.
“There are a few things we need to work on, but it’s obviously disappointing.
“If we get rid of a few discipline errors we can hold the ball a bit more and use our attack. I think they had most of the ball the whole game. Hopefully next game we can get rid of those errors.”
Australia has three Tests to turn things around before their World Cup campaign gets underway in France. Next up, the All Blacks in Melbourne on July 29.
“We have a week off now so we have a few days to get away and refresh. We debrief on our own before coming back together as a group,” Wallabies flanker Fraser McReight told Stan Sport.
“We have to scrap the past two games and learn from our mistakes but move on quickly. As Ted Lasso says, be a goldfish.”
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