Australia will face New Zealand in next week’s Rugby World Cup final after defeating Argentina 29-15 at Twickenham. It will be both sides fourth World Cup final, both having previously won twice and lost once. However it will be the first time the two Bledisloe Cup rivals have faced each other at this stage of the tournament.
Australia defeat Argentina to reach World Cup Final
Australia were quickest out of the blocks, capitalising on Argentinean mistakes early on. With the Pumas trying to run the ball from inside their own 22, second row Rob Simmons intercepted a loose pass and ran in to score the game’s opening try in under two minutes. Argentina continued to attack the Australian line and it almost paid dividends when Hernandez put Bosch through a whole and only a last gasp tackle by Foley prevented a try, and Argentina had to settle for a penalty.
The Argentines insistence on running everything hurt them again when Martin Landajo fumbled a quick tap and Australia punished them from the resultant scrum. Bernard Foley spotted the Argentinean blitz defence and hit Adam Ashley-Cooper with a long miss pass to score in the corner.
Argentina put pressure on the Australian scrum leading to a penalty, which Sanchez knocked over with ease, to reduce the deficit. Then the Pumas were reduced to 14 men as referee Wayne Barnes sent Tomas Lavanini to the sin bin for not using his arms at the tackle. The Wallabies made good use of the extra man adding another try, moving the ball from one side of the field and then back across to the other, with Adam Ashley-Cooper finishing in the corner for his second try. Sanchez added another three just before half time after some back chat from Australia from a penalty on half way pushed the penalty 10 meters into Australian territory.
Australia had the opportunity to extend their lead following the break; however Foley was unable to convert the penalty. Sanchez then brought the Pumas within a converted try of the Wallabies with his fourth kick from four attempts. Foley then restored Australia’s ten point lead after Argentina we penalised for handling on the floor. As Argentina pressed forward they continued to have half breaks but were unable to make the decisive pass, with Australia turning the ball over at the key moment, David Pocock and Michael Hooper showing the type of form at the breakdown that they did against England.
Sanchez added another penalty, but the Australian defence held firm as the Pumas went in search of the try that would bring them level. With 10 minutes remaining the Wallabies sealed their place in their fourth World Cup Final. Drew Mitchell broke down his wing before stepping inside beating defender after defender, before passing to a wide open Adam Ashley-Cooper who ran in to complete his hat-trick. The Pumas pushed forward right up until the final whistle, but the Wallabies defence again stood firm and the Australians advanced to next week’s final.
Australia improved from their quarter final performance against Scotland, however there were still large gaps in their defence which Argentina were able to take advantage of and set up field position. It was only good cover defence that saved Australia from conceding a number of tries, and that might not be good enough against a ruthless All Black side in the final
Argentina played a good game running the ball at every opportunity, however the naiveté of their game plan probably cost them the game. They gifted Australia two tries with errors in their own 22, when kicking for field position would have been the sensible option. Sanchez proved today what a world class kicker he is, and the result may have been different had the Pumas utilised this in all aspects of the game.