All Blacks win Tri Nations after Wallabies and Pumas play out draw

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 6 Dec 2020, 4:33PM
(Photo / Photosport)
(Photo / Photosport)

All Blacks win Tri Nations after Wallabies and Pumas play out draw

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 6 Dec 2020, 4:33PM

Reece Hodge missed a late match-winning penalty for the third time this season as the Wallabies and Pumas played out a 16-16 draw in miserable conditions at Sydney's Bankwest Stadium last night.

The result confirmed the All Blacks as 2020 Tri Nations champions.

The Wallabies did well to be in a position to win after Lukhan Salakaia-Loto was sent off for a high shot around the hour mark and Argentina took a 16-9 lead.

Skipper Michael Hooper scored from a maul — his 20th test try, a record for an Australian forward — and Hodge's conversion levelled the scores heading into the last 10 minutes.

But Hodge's late long-range miss condemned the Wallabies to a third draw this season after a scrappy wet-weather test that also featured three yellow cards.

Hodge gave Australia a 16th-minute 3-0 lead after Marco Kremer was harshly sin-binned for contact to the head.

With that precedent set, Hooper was also sidelined for 10 minutes with a similarly contentious call after half an hour.

The Pumas capitalised, taking the lead with a second penalty and the game's first try. Their pack rumbled the ball forward from a lineout deep in their own half and Felipe Ezcurra broke free to set up wing Bautista Delguy for a well-taken try.

That took the visitors to a 13-3 lead despite the Wallabies enjoying around 70 per cent territory and possession in the first half.

The hosts pressured the Pumas line right on halftime, ultimately settling for a 43rd-minute penalty to close the gap to 13-6 at the break.

Hodge kicked his third penalty for 13-9 but the match turned firmly Argentina's way when Salakaia-Loto was sent off on the hour for a high shot on Santiago Grondona.

Unlike the first-half yellow cards, the dismissal of Salakaia-Loto — on the pitch for just nine minutes — was justified and Argentina went 16-9 ahead from the resultant penalty.

But the Pumas enjoyed a one-man advantage for just six minutes, with Lucas Paulos sin-binned for collapsing a maul. Australian persistence was rewarded with Hooper's try and Hodge's conversion for 16-16, but once again, the Wallabies were unable to break the deadlock.

‌text by Simon Kay, NZ Herald