SYDNEY, Australia – Australia and Argentina played to a 16-16 Tri-Nations draw on Saturday after fullback Reece Hodge missed with a long-range last-minute penalty goal attempt for the second time in two weeks.
Hodge also had the chance to boot Australia to victory with three minutes to go in its 15-15 draw with the Pumas two weeks ago in Newcastle.
He also struck the uprights with an after-the-siren shot in the Wallabies’ season-opening 16-16 stalemate with the All Blacks in Wellington in October.
Hodge had earlier slotted three penalty goals on Saturday.
Argentina came into the match as underdogs after being beaten 38-0 by the Tri-Nations champion All Blacks and then having inspirational skipper Pablo Matera and two teammates stood down for disciplinary reasons.
Michael Hooper, in his last test as captain before taking a year-long sabbatical in Japan, was yellow carded in the first half for a no-arms tackle.
His replacement, forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, was sent off for making dangerous contact to Santiago Grondona’s head at the 60-minute mark.
The Wallabies looked down and out when they lost Salakaia-Loto. But Hooper and Hodge restored hope with a try to the Wallabies captain in the 67th minute as they ultimately battled back from a 10-point first-half deficit to salvage the draw.
“Challenging conditions tonight and they defend very well. Discipline let us down at key times,” Australia coach Dave Rennie said.
“We showed a lot of character tonight,“ he added. ”Seven points down, reduced to 14 men and I thought we controlled it pretty well and played in the right parts of the field and got rewarded.”