x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Australia down Argentina in Rugby Championship finale

The Wallabies capped the tournament by ensuring Argentina would go without a victory in a 54-17 pounding on Sunday.

Iisrael Folau as he scores one of his three tries in Australia's defeat of Argentina on Sunday. Daniel Salvatori / Reuters
Iisrael Folau as he scores one of his three tries in Australia's defeat of Argentina on Sunday. Daniel Salvatori / Reuters

Australia cruised to a 54-17 win over Argentina to ensure the Pumas ended their Rugby Championship campaign without a victory.

New Zealand had earlier claimed the title after beating South Africa 38-27 and both these sides knew they were coming into the game playing for nothing but pride.

The Wallabies had claimed a narrow 14-13 victory against their hosts in Perth earlier in the tournament but were much more convincing this time as a hat-trick from Israel Folau inspired them to a seven-try win.

Adam Ashley-Cooper, Joseph Tomane, Benn Robinson and Bernard Foley also crossed over with Marcelo Bosch and Martin Landajo responding for Argentina.

Folau grabbed his first after just four minutes as Will Genia and Quade Cooper combined to find the full-back out wide with Christian Lealiifano adding the extras.

James Slipper was then yellow carded for the Wallabies but they survived and edged further ahead through a Lealiifano penalty before Nicolas Sanchez kicked Argentina onto the scoreboard.

Pablo Matera received a yellow card soon after and Lealiifano reopened a 10-point lead with his second shot through the posts before Australia made full use of their man advantage.

In the 34th minute Folau offloaded to Genia and the scrum-half found Ashley-Cooper who went over with Lealiifano missing the conversion.

Just a minute later the visitors had a third try with Folau touching down after a jinking run and this time Lealiifano made no mistake.

Argentina were showing good spirit though and had their opening try within a minute as Bosch took advantage of some poor defence and Sanchez booted them to within 15 points at half time.

Folau had his hat-trick two minutes after the restart as he crossed over from close range with Cooper kicking the conversion.

The Wallabies were out of sight but the hosts kept battling and seven minutes later had their second try through Landajo with Sanchez again adding the conversion.

Rob Simmons went to the sin bin for a late hit on Felipe Contepomi but Cooper kicked a penalty soon after to put Australia 35-17 ahead.

A loose pass from Juan Imhoff allowed Tomane to sprint 50 metres and score in the 64th minute but Cooper missed with the boot.

Robinson crashed over with six minutes to go allowing Foley to register his first Test points with the boot and he had a try just two minutes later as he ran in from a long way out following a Pumas mistake.

He then added the conversion to complete the scoring and seal a convincing Australia win.