MENDOZA, Argentina (AFP) – Argentina defeated Australia 21-17 after trailing by 14 points during the first half to achieve a first Rugby Championship win on Saturday.
The Pumas debuted in the southern hemisphere competition during 2012 and lost 16 and drew one of their previous matches against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Australia had three players yellow carded and were repeatedly penalised by Welsh referee Nigel Owens.
Defeat completed a nightmare week for the Wallabies with star back Kurtley Beale dropped from the squad after a row with an official during a flight from South Africa.
The match had no bearing on the final Championship standings with New Zealand finishing top on 22 points despite a 27-25 loss in South Africa earlier Saturday.
The Springboks came second with 19 points, Australia third with 11 and Argentina last for the third consecutive season with seven.
Argentina dominated first-half territory and possession yet came off at half-time 14-8 behind against opportunist opponents.
An intercept and break by Wallabies flanker and skipper Michael Hooper set up outside centre Tevita Kuridrani to go over for the first try after three minutes and fly-half Bernard Foley converted.
Recalled No 8 Stuart Higginbotham claimed the second try for the visitors 10 minutes later, diving over beside the post after a line-out win.
Foley converted again and two forays into Argentine territory had yielded 14 points for the Wallabies at the 40,000-seat Estadio Malvinas Argentinas. Pumas hooker and skipper Agustin Creevy opted for a scrum when presented with a kickable penalty opportunity and the move backfired as Australia survived.
With 20 minutes gone, Argentina had 71 percent territory and 55 percent possession, but no points on the scoreboard.
When the home side were awarded a more difficult penalty, they decided on a shot at goal only for the attempt by fly-half Nicolas Sanchez to fall short.
Creevy kept changing his mind over penalties and when a simple three-point chance arose, he took a scrum instead.
But this time there was an eventual reward as the Pumas threw the ball wide and No 8 Leonardo Senatore dived over for a try Sanchez could not convert. Sanchez atoned on the stroke of half-time with a penalty from in front of the posts to leave the Pumas six points adrift at the interval.