David Pocock (AP)
Cape Town – An Adam Ashley-Cooper hat-trick has helped the Wallabies secure a hard fought 29-15 win against the Pumas in their Rugby World Cup semi-final played at Twickenham.
They now will face the All Blacks in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final.
Things could not have started off worse for the Pumas when as early as the 1st minute, Wallaby lock Rob Simmons intercepted an errant pass from Nicolas Sanchez and galloped to score a converted try under the uprights. Although Sanchez pulled back a penalty, the Wallabies scored another try as Ashley-Cooper went over in the corner.
The Wallaby wing had his second of the match in the 33rd minute but this time Bernard Foley could not convert.
Sanchez kept the board ticking over for the Pumas with two further penalties. They were dealt a massive blow just before half-time however, when captain Agustin Creevy had to leave the field through injury.
The Wallabies led 19-9 at half-time.
In the second half, the Pumas had long periods of possession but could not breach the Wallaby defence and had to rely on the boot of Sanchez as he landed a further two penalties. Foley landed one of his own and with ten minutes to play, the Wallabies held a slender 22-15 lead.
They put the game to bed in the 73rd minute when a brilliant break by wing Drew Mitchell saw him beat a number of defenders.
When he was eventually brought to ground in the Pumas 22m area, he managed to throw a long pass out to Ashley-Cooper who went over in the right-hand corner unopposed to register his hat-trick.
Foley converted to extend the Wallaby lead to 29-15, a lead which they defended to the final whistle.
Australia will now play New Zealand in the final at Twickenham next Saturday (18:00 SA time), while Argentina will face South Africa in the bronze medal match at London’s Olympic Park next Friday (22:00 SA time).
Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (6)
Tries: Rob Simmons, Adam Ashley-Cooper (3)
Conversions: Bernard Foley (2)
Penalties: Bernard Foley (1)
15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Kurtley Beale
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Marcos Ayerza
Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino