Fans were left fuming on Saturday night after the Wallabies played out a try-less 15-15 draw with Argentina.
The Wallabies relinquished a nine-point second-half lead as the Pumas fought back to move into pole position to claim the Tri Nations trophy.
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Australia and Argentina joined New Zealand in a three-way tie on the competition table, but the unbeaten Pumas have two games to play compared to one each for the Wallabies and All Blacks.
Just as he did against New Zealand two weeks ago, Reece Hodge looked like he had booted the Wallabies to victory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night.
But after nailing his first five penalty goals, the sharp-shooting flyhalf missed his chance to put the Pumas away three minutes from full-time in a try-less and spiteful encounter.
Desperate to back up their historic win over the All Blacks last week, the Pumas used every trick in the book to try to unsettle the Wallabies, even some grubby hair-pulling from captain Pablo Matera.
In the end it almost worked, Nicolas Sanchez matching Hodge’s five penalties to earn the Pumas a share of the points.
“Really frustrated and really disappointed,” said Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.
“At 15-6, we really had control of the game.
“It’s a really even comp now. We had a chance to really put a stranglehold on that and go into the last game just requiring a win.
“We've left the door open so it’s obviously a big game between New Zealand and Argentina next week.”
The fact that neither team could manage a try left many concerned about the state of the game.
Wally Mason of the Australian wrote on Twitter: “Commentators doing their best to talk it up but, in the fair dinkum department, that was a terrible, boring game. Code’s in all sorts of trouble.”
— wally mason (@walmason) November 21, 2020
Not good enough Wallabies, with that amount of possession and territory. Tough to watch at the end.
— James Hall (@jimbohall) November 21, 2020
Why do I ever get sucked into watching Test Rugby again with the Wallabies playing? The game these days is a joke and the Wallabies beat themselves just about every time.
May as well just have a penalty shootout and couple of one-on-one fights. Forget everything else. It’s ugly!
— (Supposi) Tory Tony (@MiztaRabbit) November 21, 2020
— Jaco (@Jaco_1979) November 21, 2020
Pathetic standard by Wallabies, Argentina spoiling game survives again. 80 minutes and not a single try. Rubbish.
— Mark Berg (@shirerabbit31) November 21, 2020
Wallabies rue the one that got away
The Wallabies dominated the first half in almost every department, yet only went to the break with a three-point advantage thanks to a 40th-minute penalty goal from Hodge.
They had the bulk of possession, double the carries, quadruple the metres gained, and four line breaks to one but were unable to convert the pressure on the Pumas into a substantial lead.
Jordan Petaia was brilliant at times and almost pulled off a spectacular somersaulting try only to put his foot on the dead-ball line before grounding the ball from a Hunter Paisami grubber kick.
Marika Koroibete also had a try over-ruled by the TMO because of a forward pass from fullback Tom Banks to the flying winger on the stroke of halftime.
“We should have been in front further,” Rennie said.
“We've got to be more clinical and turn pressure into points.
“Really Argentina didn’t look like scoring a try all night.”
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