Kellaway hat-trick helps Wallabies close the Rugby Championship on a high

Kellaway hat-trick helps Wallabies close the Rugby Championship on a high



The Wallabies finished their Rugby Championship campaign in style, beating the Pumas on either side of half-time to build an unassailable lead, before holding off a spirited late challenge to win 32-17.

It was a hat-trick for Andrew Kellaway – who struck in the 33rd, 53rd and 57th minutes – that proved the difference, but there were plenty of Wallabies who proudly wore the jersey in the final home game of the season.

The win gives the Wallabies four consecutive wins to close out the Rugby Championship – the first time in history they’ve done so.

The Wallabies, who have been a underpowered Pumas side thanks to a fateful day trip to Byron Bay which shut down several key Queensland players, didn’t quite enjoy a dismal first half.

Emiliano Boffelli had the first chance at points with a penalty, but he missed the kick despite a lot of preparation time.

Quade Cooper also had a left-sided miss from a penalty kick a few minutes later, but a scrum penalty shortly after gave Cooper a second chance he would never waste.

However, the scoreboard supervisors had little to do in the first half and neither side was able to generate many good scoring opportunities. Both sides were happy to play a restrained game and regularly kick for territory – and were both often plagued by bad kicks and subsequent lineout errors.

But the Wallabies had a golden opportunity close to the half hour and took full advantage.

Pumas lock Thomas Lavanini was shown the yellow card by referee Jaco Peyper for a very early tackle on Izack Rodda while he was lifting into the lineout. He was also obviously frustrated with what was happening and knocked away Cooper’s comforting hand as he left the field.

A minute later, he would have felt even worse, when Folau Fainga’a was able to break through in the next stage for the first try of the game.

The icebreaker kicked things off in the Wallabies and they looked a lot more menacing with the 8-0 lead on their backs.

They were able to strike a second time with the men’s advantage, with Fainga’a sending Rob Valetini through the Argentine line with a great inside pass. He then gave up setting up Kellaway for his first.

Argentina managed to maintain some pressure on the Wallaby line in first-half stoppage time with multiple penalty advantages, but ultimately had to settle for three points.

But it was the Wallabies who would regain momentum early in the second half. After being ordered to “put foot on throat” by Dan McKellar at halftime, the Wallabies did just that after a superb dummy from Cooper softened the Pumas’ defenses and allowed Samu Kerevi to continue his good form with a try.

Then it was time for Kellaway to really turn things around with a quick double to complete his hat-trick.

He did the hard yards for the first time and sold a beautiful dummy to part the blue and white sea and cross it close to the corner.

The hat-trick attempt came from more great use of the ball from the lineout, the real highlight being Len Ikitau’s superb no-look pass behind to set it up.

Behind 32-3, the Pumas could have forgiven for throwing in the towel, but they kept fighting.

Thomas Gallo got off the bench just after the hour to get one back for the nominal home side.

Then, with ten minutes to go, Gallo was back inside, though his second proved controversial after commentators felt he had held up over the line.

The reduced lead gave the Wallabies some time to think as the game ended, but they had to balance to clean up their act and keep the margin intact.

full time

Argentina – 17
Australia – 32

tries

Cougars: Gallo 2 (62′, 71′)
Wallabies: Kellaway 3 (33 , 53 , 57 ), Fainga’a (26 ), Kerevi (42)

Conversion Goals

Cougars: Boffelli 2/2 (63 , 71)
Wallabies: Cooper 2/4 (34′, 55′)

Penalties

Cougars: Boffelli 1/2 (41′)
Wallabies: Cooper 1/2 (9′)

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