The Pumas backed up their first win over the All Blacks with a 15-15 draw against the Wallabies in Newcastle on Saturday night.
The draw leaves all three Tri Nations teams on six points, with New Zealand top on points differential, although Argentina have a game in hand.
Australia dominated territory and possession in the first half but Argentina, looking to win back-to-back games in the Southern Hemisphere competition for the first time, again defended superbly to keep the hosts tryless, while Australia were left ruing mistakes as impatience and continual errors broke down multiple forward surges.
The Wallabies ramped up the pressure either side of the break and and hooker Julian Montoya was sin-binned early in the second half after the Pumas conceded a string of penalties close to their own tryline.
The boot of Reece Hodge pushed Australia out to a 15-6 lead but the Pumas wrested back the initiative as Nicolas Sanchez levelled the scores at 15-15.
Hodge had a late chance to snatch victory for the Wallabies but missed with his 78th-minute penalty — just as he did in the first Bledisloe test last month.
The miss was Hodge's first of the night, while Sanchez also kicked five penalties from six attempts, and has scored all 40 of his team's points in their first two Tri Nations tests.
The draw was the second between the Wallabies and Pumas, 33 years after the first in Buenos Aires.
The Pumas valiant effort in the series is taking a turn for the worse with their outstanding captain Pablo Matera at the centre of the storm.
Matera has been widely criticised for pulling the hair of the Wallaby hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa during the boring 15-all Tri-Nations draw with the Wallabies in Newcastle.
And one Australian writer has turned the heat up further, accusing the Pumas of operating a dirty tricks campaign.
Julian Linden, in the Daily Telegraph, wrote: "Discipline remains Australia's biggest problem. The Wallabies still give away too many stupid penalties and cough up possession by pushing passes that aren't on.
"Worst of all, they keep taking the bait and retaliating to off the ball incidents that blow up in their faces.
"The Pumas get a lot of praise for their passion but they deserve plenty of stick for their dirty little tricks – which include pulling hair, kicking players and blatantly lying on the ball.
"The Wallabies know that but still fall for it every time and it cost them dearly in Newcastle."
It raises the spectre of a spiteful return bout between the All Blacks and Pumas in Newcastle on Saturday.
Veteran All Black hooker Dane Coles was roundly criticised for losing his cool against the Pumas, conceding a penalty reversal after slapping an opponent in the face. And the once invincible All Blacks get rattled under pressure, something all opponents will play on.
The Argentinians are using a spoiling game suited to their strengths and weaknesses which increases the chances of bad blood flowing in their matches.
text by NZ Herald