Rugby World Cup: Ashley-Cooper hat-trick takes Aussies into final
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | October 25, 2015
Argentina 15-29 Australia
- Converted tries in opening 10 minutes from Simmons and Ashley-Cooper put Aussies in command
- Lavanini sin-binned as Argentina lose Imhoff and Creevy then Hernandez to injury
- Ashley-Cooper goes over again so Wallabies have 19-9 half-time lead
- Sanchez spotless with kicking, while Foley hit and miss again
- Mitchell move allows Ashley-Cooper to scoop match ball
Usual suspects to contest Twickenham final
Australia will face neighbours New Zealand in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final after an impressive 29-15 win over Argentina at Twickenham, which saw Wallabies winger Adam Ashley-Cooper hit a hat-trick.
Two first-half tries from Adam Ashley-Cooper after Rob Simmons’ opportunistic opener proved decisive as injuries to key Pumas players hampered them in front of watching football icon Diego Maradona, despite five Nicolas Sanchez penalties.
Drew Mitchell’s late break then saw him unselfishly tee up fellow wing Ashley-Cooper for a third crossing that sealed an Australia victory to set up another absorbing All Blacks encounter on October 31st.
Wonderful Wallabies start
Argentina gifted the Aussies an early try when Sanchez’s cheap pass was seized upon on by the intercepting Simmons, who ran straight through to cross.
Bernard Foley showed no repeat of first-half kicking nerves against Scotland initially by converting to give the Wallabies a 7-0 lead with just a couple of minutes played.
Foley’s heroism continued as a similar Australia error almost saw Pumas centre Marcelo Bosch barge his way through, only to be stopped by the opposition fly half. A penalty followed, which Sanchez kicked to put Argentina on the board.
Fantastic Foley then found Ashley-Cooper in acres of space with an angled run out wide behind Israel Folau from a scrum, and the Wallabies wing went over to stretch his team’s lead. Another successful kick from Foley made it 14-3.
Injuries and ill-discipline see Pumas punished
Leading Argentine tryscoring threat Juan Imhoff left the field midway through the first-half with a head injury and, despite Sanchez’s second penalty when Australia were penalised in the scrum, their misery was compounded by Tomasl Lavanini spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
The TMO identified a dangerous low tackle with no arms used on Folau by the Pumas lock, with referee Wayne Barnes adjudging Lavanini to have intentionally fouled his man. Worse still for Argentina, captain Agustin Creevy limped off too.
Dragging the 14 men from side-to-side, another Wallabies try was inevitable and it was Ashley-Cooper going over again in the corner nine minutes before half-time. Foley’s miscued conversion notwithstanding, the Aussies had a comfortable 19-9 advantage following a third Sanchz penalty.
Santiago Cordero’s drive forward looked to have found Juan Martin Hernandez for a certain Pumas try, but Foley again made a magnificent last-ditch tackle and the South Americans’ move broke down in the next phase as the first-half drew to a close.
Terrific turnovers allow Aussies to taste victory
Argentine centre Hernandez hobbled after shortly after the restart, but not before Foley failed to kick an early second-half Wallabies penalty with play turned over impressively again.
Sanchez was flawless with the boot, however, notching a fourth and fifth success to bring the Pumas back to 19-12 and then 22-15 down, though Foley found his range again briefly opening up a 10-point gap for Australia once more in between.
Turnovers time and again fell the Wallabies’ way during a closer second-half, but their victory was complete when Mitchell wriggled free of the Argentina defence and offloaded to Ashley-Cooper to get a third try.
Replays suggested this may have been a forward pass, but Foley’s successful conversion brought about a final score of 29-15 to the Aussies. Can the Wallabies upset tournament favourites New Zealand? Australia are 15/8 with Coral to win the Rugby World Cup.
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