The Qantas Wallabies have played out another tense draw with Argentina with the two teams finishing their 2020 season with a 16-all stalemate at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta in the final round of the eToro Tri Nations.
The result at Bankwest Stadium means that New Zealand have won the 2020 eToro Tri Nations after topping the table following the six-week tournament in Australia.
The night opened with a stirring rendition of Advance Australia Fair, performed by Olivia Fox of Newtown Performing Arts School, with the Wallabies singing the national anthem in the Eora language before in English in what was a first for an international sporting event in Australia.
The weather wasn’t as welcome though as the heavens opened above Bankwest Stadium shortly after kick-off with Argentina battening down the hatches with some heroic defence.
A yellow card to powerhouse lock Marcos Kremer at the 15-minute mark gave Reece Hodge the chance to open the scoring and the fullback made no mistake.
Argentina were able to equalise with 14 men though as Nicolas Sanchez scraped a penalty of his own over the crossbar and the Pumas had the lead soon after when Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper was sent to the sin bin following an illegal clean out.
A powerful Pumas rolling maul then allowed Argentina to go coast-to-coast with Bautista Delguy fending and stepping his way through the Wallabies defence for the first try.
The ball turned into soap as the rain turned torrential in Parramatta, but Hodge was able to close the gap to seven points with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Australia turned to the boot in the second half as the game shifted into a battle for territory and the Wallabies won the early exchanges to allow Hodge to close the gap to 9-13.
A red card to Lukhan Salakaia-Loto didn’t help the Wallabies cause though with the reserve lock sent off following a shoulder to the head of Santiago Grondona of Argentina.
The Pumas edged the lead back out to seven points from the ensuing penalty, but the card fired the Wallabies into gear and Hooper barged over for a converted try with 15 minutes left, to level the scores.
Action went end-to-end in the closing stages before Hodge had the chance to win it with a penalty just before full-time but the ball stayed right of the posts to leave the final score locked at 16-all.
Qantas Wallabies 16 (Hooper try, Hodge con, Hodge 3 pens) Argentina 16 (Delguy try, Miotti 1 con, Sanchez 1 pen, Miotti 2 pens)
Wallabies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Matt Philip, 6. Ned Hanigan, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Nic White, 10. James O’Connor, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Hunter Paisami, 13. Jordan Petaia, 14. Tom Wright, 15. Reece Hodge
Reserves: 16. Folau Fainga'a, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Taniela Tupou, 19. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20. Rob Valetini, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. Irae Simone, 23. Tom Banks
40 mins – Valetini for Wilson, 50 mins - Tupou for Alaalatoa, 50 mins – Salakaia-Loto for Simmons, 56 mins – Fainga’a for Paenga-Amosa, 59 mins – Bell for Sio, 70 mins – Gordon for White, 72 mins – Banks for Koroibete, 74 mins – Simone for Petaia
Argentina: 1. Nahuela Tetaz Chaparro, 2. Julian Montoya, 3. Francisco Gomez Kodela, 4. Matias Alemanno, 5. Marcos Kremer, 6. Santiago Grondona, 7. Facundo Isa, 8. Rodrigo Bruni, 9. Felipe Ezcurra, 10. Nicolas Sanchez, 11. Emiliano Boffelli, 12. Jeronimo de la Fuente (c), 13. Matias Orlando, 14. Bautista Delguy, 15. Santiago Carreras
Reserves: 16. Jose Luis Gonzalez, 17. Mayco Vivas, 18. Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19. Lucas Paulos, 20. Francisco Gorrissen, 21. Gonzalo Bertranou, 22. Domingo Miotti, 23. Santiago Chocobares