Kellaway scores hat-trick as in-form Australia down Pumas

Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) –


Andrew Kellaway scored a hat-trick as the Wallabies made it four wins in a row with a comprehensive 32-17 victory over Argentina on Saturday in the Rugby Championship.

The Australian winger has now crossed for seven tries since his international debut against New Zealand earlier this year.

Australia led 32-3 midway through the second half on the Gold Coast and despite a late surge by the Pumas, they were always in control.

Argentina, who went into the match on the back of five consecutive losses in the Rugby Championship, endured rocky preparations after six players and two officials broke coronavirus regulations and were barred from playing.

The Pumas were consequently missing key forwards Pablo Matera and prop Santiago Medrano, and they proved major losses at scrum time.

The Wallabies had the Argentine scrum under enormous pressure from the outset, winning a string of penalties as the Pumas' scrum collapsed.

Australian fly-half Quade Cooper opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a penalty from a scrum infringement, but the Wallabies had to wait another 22 minutes before the possession and territory they were enjoying finally told.

Pumas lock Tomas Lavanini was shown a yellow card for a dangerous challenge in the line-out and in his absence hooker Folau Fainga'a and Kellaway crossed to give the Wallabies a commanding 15-0 lead.

The Argentines fought back and camped on the Australian line for the last five minutes of the first half, but some superb Wallaby defence kept them out, their only reward a penalty to Emiliano Boffelli right on halftime.

The first 20 minutes of the second half was all Australia as they ran amok, especially in the backline.

A composed Cooper began to pull the strings, putting the men outside him into space on a number of occasions.

Inside centre Samu Kerevi crossed just after the restart before Kellaway touched down twice more, both on the end of slick backline moves.

Cooper was having an off-night with the boot but the Wallabies were in complete control and led 32-3 with 20 minutes remaining.

Australia coach Dave Rennie made wholesale changes and the Pumas took advantage of some resulting sloppy play with two tries to replacement prop Thomas Gallo.

But they were too far behind and never looked like overhauling the Wallabies, who now head on their European tour full of confidence.