A courageous Argentina battled back to earn a 15-15 Tri Nations draw with Australia Saturday to show they are real contenders after a memorable win against the All Blacks last week.
The Pumas looked out for the count when they slipped nine points behind in the second half, but the golden boot of Nicolas Sanchez rescued them with the fly-half again kicking all their points.
Sanchez had scored all of Argentina’s points in their famous victory over New Zealand last weekend.
A grinding war of attrition that isn’t likely to go down as one of the great matches in Rugby Championship history Argentina’s brave draw with Australia leaves the competition interestingly poised.
The Wallabies only have themselves to blame for missing out on an opportunity to move to the top of the Tri Nations table.
Reece Hodge missed a late penalty that could have sealed victory for the hosts and then Wallabies centre Jordan Petaia kicked the ball away with his team on the attack.
The Pumas forced their way back into the game with their scrumming power as the Australian pack slowly disintegrated and gave the Argentines a foothold in the match.
Sanchez was once again cool under pressure in kicking the Pumas to a creditable draw but Australia will rue not closing the match out.
Watch: Australia 15-15 Argentina highlights
Result of the Tri Nations rugby match between Australia and Argentina in Newcastle, north of Sydney, on Saturday:
Australia 15 Argentina 15
Australia – Penalties: Reece Hodge (5)
Argentina – Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (5)
Tom Banks; Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia, Hunter Paisami, Marika Koroibete; Reece Hodge, Nic White; Harry Wilson, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan; Matt Philip, Rob Simmons; Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Scott Sio
Replacements: Folau Fainga’a, Angus Bell, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Valetini, Liam Wright, Jake Gordon, Noah Lolesio, Filipo Daugunu
Santiago Carreras; Bautista Delguy, Matias Orlando, Santiago Chocobares, Juan Imhoff; Nicolas Sanchez, Tomas Cubelli; Rodrigo Bruni, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera (capt); Matias Alemanno, Guido Petti; Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya, Nahuel Tetaz Chapparo
Replacements: Santiago Socino, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Santiago Grondona, Facundo Isa, Gonzalo Bertranou, Emiliano Boffelli, Santiago Cordero
Referee: Paul Williams (NZL)
Tri Nations Standings (played, won, drawn, lost, points scored, points conceded, bonus points, total)
New Zealand 3 1 1 1 80 54 2 6
Argentina 2 1 1 0 40 30 0 6
Australia 3 1 1 1 44 80 0 6
Point allocation: 4 – win, 2 – draw, 1 – losing by seven points or less or scoring at least three tries more than opponents
Played on October 31
At ANZ Stadium, Sydney
New Zealand 43 Australia 5
Played on November 7
At Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Australia 24 New Zealand 22
Played on November 14
At Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Argentina 25 New Zealand 15