Sunday 22 October 2017 / 01:26 PM

BIG FINISH CARRIES WALLABIES TO SOLID VICTORY

Australia have finished the 2017 Rugby Championship in second place following a 37-20 bonus-point victory over Argentina in Mendoza, producing a strong final quarter after a see-sawing opening hour – a virtual carbon copy of the teams’ clash in Canberra last month.

The Wallabies leapt out to an 8-0 lead when international rookie Marika Koroibete followed up last week’s double against South Africa with a brilliant 40-metre opener.

The Pumas hit back through Matias Alemanno’s try and edged 10-8 in front via a Nicolas Sanchez penalty goal, but the visitors landed a crucial blow through Reece Hodge six minutes out from halftime courtesy of some great vision from Will Genia.

Sanchez levelled at 13-all with a second penalty just before the break, before the teams traded tries to Bernard Foley and Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias to square up again at 20-all with 22 minutes to go.

Hodge repaid the favour by making a break up the middle and finding Genia in support to scoot away and finish off a 50-metre movement, a try that appeared to break the hosts’ resolve.

Foley extended Australia’s lead to 10 points after Marcos Kremer was yellow-carded in the 70th minute, before Hodge capped a stellar performance by racing away for his second with just over three minutes left on the clock.

The result boosted Michael Cheika’s side back up to No.3 in the IRB rankings after New Zealand and England.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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