Rugby: Wallabies rally to brush aside Pumas 45-20

Canberra (AFP) - Australia broke through for their first victory in this year's Rugby Championship with a 45-20 win over Argentina in Canberra on Saturday.

The Wallabies fought back from 13-10 down at half-time to score five second-half tries to pull away in the final stages.

Coach Michael Cheika demanded more urgency and pace from his team in the second half and the Wallabies responded to dominate the Pumas.

Full-back Israel Folau scored a double try with Australia's Sekope Kepu, Will Genia, Nick Phipps and Jordan Uelese recording the other tries.

Fly-half Bernard Foley kicked six conversions and a penalty goal for 15 points.

"There was a lack of intent, lack of urgency in the first half, I'm not sure why, you're playing in a Test match for Australia," Cheika said.

"But they sorted themselves out in the second half and that was better rugby from us.

"You have to set the platform or you get nothing out wide, and then you get some straight hard running, better defence to put pressure on the opposition and you get a better outcome."

The Wallabies remain third on the Rugby Championship standings, but can leapfrog the Springboks - who were hammered 57-0 by New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday - into second spot with a win over them in their next match in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

The Wallabies finally broke through in the Southern hemisphere tournament after some frustrating close shaves.

Australia led 20-10 in the second half against South Africa in Perth last week, only for the Springboks to snatch a 23-23 draw.

It followed a heartbreaking 35-29 defeat to the All Blacks in Dunedin last month when the Australians relinquished a 17-point lead as New Zealand snatched the winning try with two minutes left.

The Wallabies have now won 14 of their last 15 games against the Pumas and have lost only once to Argentina in 14 Tests at home.

Argentina have won only one of their seven Tests this year and the last time they finished a calendar year with a lower win rate was when they went winless from three games in 1976.

The Pumas dominated territory and possession in the first half and scored the opening try in the 23rd minute after 14 phases.

Scrum-half Martin Landajo burrowed over close to the line and Nicolas Sanchez's conversion gave Argentina a 10-3 advantage.

But Australia hit back through Folau, who backed up slick passing between Kurtley Beale, Sean McMahon and Foley to go over for his opening try.

The Wallabies paid for their indiscipline in their own half with Sanchez putting the Pumas ahead 13-10 with a penalty goal nearing half-time.

But the half-time break gave the Wallabies time to regroup and they were a different proposition in the second half.

Front-rower Kepu scored off a pick-and-drive close to the Pumas try-line and Folau completed his double with his 30th Test try off a long cut-out Will Genia pass.

The Pumas were reduced to 14 men when prop Enrique Pieretto was sent to the sin bin for repeated scrum infringements, leaving his team a man short for the final 10 minutes.

The Wallabies cranked it up and Genia darted over off a scrum win, and his replacement Nick Phipps scored before winger Matias Moroni grabbed a consolation try for the Pumas off a kick.

Replacement hooker Jordan Uelese finished off the scoring for the Wallabies with a close-range try in the final minute.