The Wallabies have mounted an impressive comeback to take a 41-26 win over Argentina in Mendoza.
Dave Rennie’s men were stunned early on as Pablo Matera and the Pumas struck first, taking a quick 10-3 lead.
A penalty try and a yellow card to lock Matías Alemanno in the second half proved the key turning point as the visitors charged into the lead thanks to dominant showings from man of the match Rob Valetini and Folau Fainga’a.
Len Ikitau’s late try helped seal the bonus point and the win for the Wallabies, although it came at a cost with the loss of Quade Cooper to a suspected lower leg injury.
Cooper was arguably the Wallabies’ best in the first half as Pablo Matera opened the scoring for the Pumas in the fifth minute.
The returning flyhalf made his mark instantly as he nailed a penalty, before Emiliano Boffelli hit back with two of his own.
Needing a response, Cooper came up with a piece of magic, drawing the defenders in before finding Jordan Petaia as the winger dived over the line to reduce the margin.
Dave Rennie’s men continued to go onto the attack, however a lack of execution and a growing penalty stifled their opportunities.
Cooper continued his strong first half as he burst through the line, before a loose pass brought them undone.
Five minutes later, the Japanese-based flyhalf stepped and went close, however, a trademark flick hit James Slipper in the head and caused the turnover.
This allowed Boffelli to add his third penalty of the night as they fed off a strong crowd in Mendoza.
Some excellent work from Darcy Swain at the rolling maul shut down a threatening attack from Los Pumas, before Boffelli’s fourth gave the hosts a 19-10 lead at the break.
Needing a spark, some exciting interchange between Tom Wright and Jordan Petaia almost produced a try, before they were stung by the loss of Cooper.
The injury failed to stop their momentum as Fraser McReight stepped up in Michael Hooper’s absence to dive over the line.
With the visitors on the attack, Argentina produced some exciting counter-attack to break open the game, with Juan Martín González Samso finishing off in the corner.
They eventually got the opportunity they deserved when the forwards combined for a penalty try from the rolling maul.
Lock Matías Alemanno was yellow carded as a result, with the long boot of Reece Hodge’s putting the Wallabies in front for the first time in the game.
With the hosts still down a man, Folau Fainga’a capped off his strong performance with a trademark try from the rolling maul to push the lead past a converted try.
It set up a remarkable finish with the result well and truly secured as both teams hunted for a bonus point; Argentina a losing one and a three-try bonus point for the Wallabies.
Both teams decided to throw the ball around at will with players gassed as Nick Frost somehow won the race to a kick, before Hunter Paisami and Len Ikitau connected to cap off an incredible win.
“I thought we were far more clinical (in the second half), we applied a lot more pressure…really happy with how we finished,” coach Dave Rennie said after the match.
“We battled to do that consistently against the English so it’s a start but we have more in us but really happy with the character, we had a couple of late changes and losing a key guy within the game.
“That’s the thing about this group, there’s a lot of character and courage and they stood up.”
TRIES: Petaia, McReight, Penalty try, Fainga’a, Ikitau
CONS: Cooper 1/1, Hodge 3/3
PENS: Cooper 1/1, Hodge 1/1
TRIES: Matera, González Samso
CONS: Boffelli 2/2
PENS: Boffelli 4/5
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallía, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martín González Samso, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Francisco Gómez Kodela, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Thomas Gallo, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Santiago Grondona, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Lautaro Bazán Vélez, 22 Tomas Albornoz, 23 Matias Moroni.
Australia:15 Tom Wright, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper (captain)
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Jake Gordon, 23 Reece Hodge.
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson (England), Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO:Marius van der Westhuizen [South Africa]
Munster Confirm Three New Signings
Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm the signing of Oli Jager from the Crusaders with the tighthead prop signing a contract until the summer of 2027.
Hooker Eoghan Clarke is rejoining Munster on a short-term contract with back three player Colm Hogan also returning on a short-term deal.
Jager will join the province in the coming weeks with his contract beginning at the start of December.
Born in London, Jager started out at Naas RFC before playing schools rugby at Newbridge College and Blackrock College. He lined out for the Ireland U18 Schools team in 2013 before moving to Canterbury in New Zealand at the age of 17.
Initially attending the Crusaders International High Performance Unit, he earned a place in the Crusaders Academy in 2014. After impressing with New Brighton RFC, he earned a place in the Canterbury squad for the Mitre 10 Cup in 2016.
Jager made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2017 and has been a key member of their squad for the past seven years, winning seven consecutive Super Rugby titles.
Eoghan Clarke spent three years in the Munster Academy before departing for Jersey Reds in March 2021. A former Ireland U20 international, Clarke won the English Championship with Jersey Reds last season before the club went into liquidation last month.
Colm Hogan, who has lined out for Ireland U20 and Munster A in the past, played his schools rugby with Glenstal Abbey. He captained Dublin University in the AIL and also had a spell with Colomiers in the PRO D2 while studying in France.
The 26-year-old played for Leinster against Chile last year and lined out with recent Munster arrival Alex Nankivell for Tasman Mako in the NPC this year.
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Key All Black announces sabbatical to play in Japan
All Blacks captain Sam Cane will take up a sabbatical option in his New Zealand Rugby (NZR) contract in 2024 to play a season for Suntory in Japan League One.
The 31-year-old, 95-Test loose forward will miss the 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season with the Chiefs, but will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign.
Cane, who is contracted to NZR through to the end of 2025, said he was looking forward to experiencing a new playing environment with Suntory and learning more about a new culture in Japan.
“When the opportunity to play for Suntory in 2024 came up it felt like the right time following the Rugby World Cup to try something new and also a great chance to continue to grow and learn in my rugby and life journey. I’m grateful to New Zealand Rugby for their support to take this opportunity.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to skip a season with the Chiefs, but I know the team is in a great place and has an incredible group of leaders in the squad and the coaching group to have a successful 2024, and I’m really pleased to be able to return in time to put my best foot forward for selection in the All Blacks.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said:
“Sam’s decision to take a sabbatical in 2024 has our full support and we wish him and his family all the best for their time in Japan. There are very few players who have given as much as he has to the jerseys he’s worn in his career to date and it’s a mark of his commitment to the All Blacks that he will return and make himself available for the Test season.”
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said:
“Sam has given everything to this team on and off the field and deserves to take this opportunity to experience something different. He is an exceptional player and influential leader who has been an integral part of the Gallagher Chiefs for many years. We wish him and his family all the best and hope they enjoy their time in Japan after a full-on year.”
Key All Black commits to Gallagher Chiefs until 2025
Dominant loose forward Luke Jacobson has extended his contract with the Gallagher Chiefs, Waikato and New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2025.
The 18-test All Black was a consistent starter for the Gallagher Chiefs this year and a key element of their outstanding DHL Super Rugby Pacific performances. He consequently went on to be named in the All Blacks squad to travel to France.
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan is delighted to have Jacobson sticking around for another two seasons.
“Luke is an outstanding player; he’s a workhorse, a consistent performer and considered a real warrior within our group. Luke leads by example both on and off the field. He isnt one to waste words and prefers to let his actions speak for themself. In the absence of some senior players who have moved on, I have no doubt Luke will play an integral part providing the leadership and guidance our younger players will be looking for”.
Jacobson has impressed throughout his career, playing for the New Zealand U20s team twice and captaining them in his second season to win the 2017 U20 World Championship title. This aptitude for leadership has seen him pull on the Gallagher Chiefs captain’s armband on multiple occasions.
Waikato Rugby head coach Ross Filipo is excited about Luke extending his career with Waikato. “He is a great man and a great leader who continues to make huge contributions on and off the field and always represents the region with pride.”
Speaking on his signing Jacobson said: “I’m stoked to signing on with the Waikato, Chiefs and NZR for another two years. I love representing these teams and am very proud to be able to call myself a Waikato/Chiefs man and also and All black. I’m hungry to succeed with these teams and tick off a few unticked boxes.”
The 2024 Gallagher Chiefs squad will be named later this year ahead of assembling for pre-season training.