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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Wallabies rue missed opportunity

Quite simply, it was the “one that got away”.

The Wallabies played out a dramatic 15-all draw with Argentina at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium, in round four of the eToro Tri Nations, on Saturday night.

The result leaves the Pumas in the box seat with two games remaining in the tournament while the Australian side and the New Zealand All Blacks have just one match up their respective sleeves.

It was a tight opening half with the Wallabies dominating field position and possession but failing to capitalise after two tries were disallowed by the television match official.

Reece Hodge opened the scoring, but Nicolas Sanchez struck right back for Argentina to level it up at 3-all before an acrobatic try attempt from Jordan Petaia was disallowed after 16 minutes.

Petaia regathered a smart grubber behind from centre partner Hunter Paisami, however his foot just grazed the dead ball line in the act of planting the ball.

Some poor Australian discipline then allowed Argentina to take a 6-3 lead thanks to Sanchez, despite the Pumas struggling to get out of their own half for much of the opening period.

This time Hodge was the man with the instant reply though, after he nudged through his second penalty of the night.

The Wallabies regained the ascendency well after the half-time siren sounded, with Hodge landing another three-pointer for a 9-6 scoreline at the break.

Australia extended its advantage in the second period as Hodge nudged two more penalties for a 15-6 buffer with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Argentina’s spirited fightback then began in earnest as Sanchez marched his team around the park and slowly chipped away at the Wallabies’ lead before leveling the scores at the 70-minute mark.

A long-range attempt from Hodge couldn’t seal it for Australia with both sides having to settle for a share of the spoils.

The Wallabies now enjoy a week off before their final game of 2020 against Argentina at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday, 5 December.

Argentina remains in Newcastle with the Pumas to take on the All Blacks at McDonald Jones Stadium next Saturday, 28 November.

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