GOLD COAST, Australia – Argentina upset Australia 23-19 on Saturday in a dramatic fourth-round match in The Rugby Championship, earning an unprecedented second victory in this annual international rugby union competition.
The Pumas had not defeated the Wallabies in Australia since 1983, but it was clear from the outset of the match at Robina Stadium that the visitors had their sights set on victory.
Emiliano Boffelli announced Argentina’s intensions with a cannon blast on a penalty kick from 50 meters out that gave his side a 3-0 lead.
Australia showcased its firepower over the remainder of the first half with two tries, one scored by Will Genia in the 11th minute and another by Israel Folau eight minutes later.
But Argentina answered each time to nudge back ahead on the scoreboard and take a 17-14 lead at halftime.
Australia narrowed that advantage to one at 20-19 after a try by Dane Haylett-Petty, but Bernard Foley missed the conversion.
The pace of scoring then ground to a virtual halt, with the final points of the game coming on a penalty kick by Boffelli.
Australia nearly scored what would have been a game-winning try in the 81st minute, but Folau lost the ball when he was tackled by Tomas Lavanini just short of the goal line.
Argentina’s victory marks the first time the Pumas have ever won two games in this annual competition. In second-round action on Aug. 25, the South Americans defeated South Africa in Mendoza, Argentina.
In other action Saturday, South Africa handed New Zealand its first loss of this year’s Rugby Championship, stunning the All Blacks 36-34 in Wellington, New Zealand.
With four of six rounds completed in this annual competition, the Kiwis still lead the table with 16 points, while South Africa is second with 10, Argentina is third with eight and Australia is last with five.
In the fifth round on Sept. 29, South Africa will host Australia and Argentina will be the home team against New Zealand.