Tumultuous weather in Wellington and a lackluster performance from the home side conspired to give the Pumas a sniff of victory over the World Champion All Blacks in Wellington in the first of the Championship’s third round matches.
Battered by wind and soaked by rain the Pumas came to play, and their offensive defence was the key factor in their competitiveness throughout the game. Scoring the only try of the first half the Pumas trailed 6-5 at the break, which was a lengthy one due to the temporary failure of the floodlights.
When play did resume it was an arm-wrestle until the last ten-odd minutes, when the All Blacks put the foot on the throat of the feisty South Americans, eventually running out 21-5 winners.
It was a bittersweet night for the Wallabies as they notched up their first win of the competition in the face of severe criticism from every quarter, but lost influential halfback Will Genia to a 6-month long injury lay-off.
After a shaky start from the Australians, which included a number of very poor kick options, Quaid Cooper came in to his own, organizing his backline and passing flat to runners hitting the ball at pace.
It was an evenly matched, see-sawing battle which featured numerous lead changes, but the Wallabies held on for a much needed win, although the loss of Genia, on top of previous injuries to James Horwill and David Pocock, will make the return leg in the Republic a huge assignment.