What should have been a win for Australia and going to the top of the log, played out to be a 15-all draw on Saturday in the Tri-Nations test match against the Argentinians.
Argentina was kept in the game with Hooper turning down easy points and going for attacking lineouts with almost every penalty Australia got in that first half.
Australia was dominating play and had Argentina with their backs against the wall in the first half but with opportunities begging the Aussies could only manage a 9-6 lead at the break.
It was an unspectacular test match with both sides struggle to get continuity going and a lot of niggle which the referee sometimes struggle to contain.
Los Pumas showed again their strong defence in the match which seemed to rattle the Aussies at times.Must admit that the Aussies were very unlucky on the night with two disallowed tries in the first half which could have seen the game going away from the Pumas.
Hodge kicked three penalties in the first half against the two from Sanchez.
Australia came out in the second half still dominating play and kept playing in Argentina half of the field. The Pumas Julian Montoya getting a yellow card after they have been on a team warning since the first half.
Hooper surprisingly decided to kick at the poles even with a dominate scrum against a seven man Argentina pack.It was clearly an instruction from the coach as he continue to take points rather than going for the lineout in the second half.
The Aussies kept putting the pressure on and the Argentinians kept giving away penalties which saw Hodge take their lead to 15-6.
The Pumas then started to get a bit more ball and also a few calls from the referee as Australia discipline started to let them down.
Sanchez got three points back for the Pumas when they got a penalty from the scrum. With 12 minutes to go he slotted another penalty over to make it 15-12.
With rain coming down at this stage Sanchez showed his class slotting over a long-range penalty to even the scores up at 15-all.
Hodge had a chance to get the win for his side with a late penalty but pushed it wide.
There was also a late chance for the Pumas but the match ended in a draw which will make the Pumas the happiest of the two sides.
Sure their will be a few questions asked about Hooper’s decision in the first half to turned down all those points but this has set the championship up for a thrilling final few weeks.
This has now brought the All Blacks right back in the mix and with a big win next week against the Pumas can give them the trophy which is mad if you think they loss two of their matches.
The All Blacks have a 16 point better points difference at the moment and we can expect them to come out next week and try and score plenty of tries.
So this looks like the Tri-Nations will be decided by the team with the better points difference and it is playing right in the All Blacks hands.
Wallabies: Penalties – Reece Hodge (5).
Argentina: Penalties – Nicolas Sanchez (5).
Next week Schedule:
New Zealand v Argentina