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Wallabies make it three on the trot thanks to Kerevi masterclass but Rennie could be ‘grumpy’ in review

Kerevi burst through the line to set up Reece Hodge’s opening try before muscling his way past hapless defenders in the 19th minute to open up a 14-0 lead for the home side.

He is in special form at the moment and doing everything in his power to be one of Australia’s first picks for the 2023 World Cup.

Kerevi finished with 90 metres from 14 carries and beat six defenders. His devastating form is opening up important space out wide for potent wingers Kellaway and Marika Koroibete, who are making the most of their opportunities.

“I thought he was excellent again,” said Rennie of Kerevi. “His ability to break tackles and get in behind defences and create problems … he’s been excellent every game so far. Really happy with him.”

Rennie said after the match Koroibete would miss next week’s match against Argentina because he will return to Melbourne to be with family, having spent more than two months on the road since missing the birth of his son to play a Test against France. Koroibete met his son briefly during a few days off in Melbourne before returning to be with the squad.

Australia’s backs were metre-eaters and dazzled Argentina’s defensive line. Kerevi, his ever-improving centre partner Len Ikitau, and Kellaway beat 21 defenders between them.

After two draws last year against Argentina, this was the Wallabies’ biggest win against their South American rivals since a 45-20 result in Canberra five years ago.

“We drew these games last year. Really pleasing to take a step forward,” said Wallabies captain Michael Hooper. “Argentina can be a really dangerous team, so we came out of the blocks really well there today. We let them in the game with some ill-discipline. I think we could have put them to the sword a few times there and we let that slip.

“We’re sticking to the script, mostly. There’s improvement but I think we’re creating some belief around how we want to play and what Wallaby rugby looks like.”

Last week, Australia made 94 per cent of their tackles and once again did the business against their physically imposing opponents with 91 per cent tackle success rate.

Samu Kerevi fends off Santiago Carreras.

Samu Kerevi fends off Santiago Carreras.Credit:Getty

Argentina did themselves no favours off the kicking tee, with Emiliano Boffelli missing a possible eight points on offer.

Rennie’s gamble to pick Quade Cooper has paid off in spades, with the older statesman of the back line exuding confidence and taking smart options with ball in hand and off the boot.

Cooper was replaced by James O’Connor at the 56th-minute mark, as was halfback Nic White for Tate McDermott. The Queensland Reds duo added spark and steered Australia’s bench players around cleverly.

Reece Hodge did his hopes of retaining the No.15 jersey no harm with a clinical finish in the fifth minute to settle the nerves.

With Tom Banks out of action for the rest of the year through injury, Wallabies coaches are desperate for someone to assert their dominance at fullback. Hodge could be their man.

In reality, this Argentina side appears to be a shade of the team that graced these shores last year. It was the team’s fifth straight defeat.

Wallabies No.6 Rob Leota, in his first start at Test level, was productive on a night where Australia’s tight five provided starch and a solid scrum platform.

Australia have a chance next Saturday to make it four on the bounce before a tour to Japan and Europe.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks snatched a 19-17 victory over the Springboks and retained their No.1 world ranking in the 100th Test between the countries.

New Zealand and South Africa traded tries in the opening six minutes courtesy of Will Jordan and S’busiso Nkosi but the remaining 74 minutes of play consisted of only penalties.

The All Blacks, with nine straight victories under their belt before Saturday’s match in Townsville, took a 16-14 lead in the 61st minute before a sixth lead change saw South Africa go ahead 17-16 with 13 minutes remaining.

New Zealand reserve Quinn Tupaea won a crucial turnover penalty in the dying stages that paved the way for Jordie Barrett to give his side a two-point lead with just over two minutes remaining.

After a century of history between these sides, this match lived up to expectations.

The teams will do battle once again in seven days. New Zealand’s narrow win means the Wallabies cannot win the Rugby Championship.

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The All Blacks have not lost a Test since last year’s defeat to Argentina in November in Sydney.

The All Blacks conceded a staggering 23 turnovers to South Africa’s eight but it was Jordie Barrett’s flawless night with the boot (five from five) that helped his side chalk up a memorable win.

South Africa were just minutes away from regaining their world No.1 ranking, having suffered back-to-back defeats to the Wallabies, but couldn’t execute when it mattered most.

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