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Argentina vs. Australia: Score, Reaction from Rugby World Cup 2015 Semi-Final

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2015

Australia's Rob Simmons makes a run against Argentina during their Rugby World Cup semifinal match at Twickenham Stadium, London, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Australia beat Argentina 29-15 at Twickenham to set up a mouthwatering final with New Zealand in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. 

Rob Simmons and a hat-trick from Adam Ashley-Cooper helped the Wallabies reach their fourth World Cup final.

The Pumas were ruthlessly punished for two early mistakes, but they were otherwise able to keep pace with the Wallabies for much of the contest thanks to five penalties from Nicolas Sanchez.

Australia scored their first try inside two minutes after Simmons intercepted a careless pass from Sanchez, per ITV Rugby:

ITV Rugby @ITVRugby

TRY! Simmons intercepts and touches down for an early score - brought to you by @SamsungUK | #SamsungRugby https://t.co/JN7GdXY1r0

An offside allowed Sanchez to somewhat redeem himself with a penalty, but just three minutes later, the Wallabies doubled their tally.

Ashley-Cooper went over on the right, charging home with impunity after Australia drew Pumas full-back Juan Imhoff infield before quickly working the ball across to the space:

ITV Rugby @ITVRugby

TRY! Ashley-Cooper makes it two early tries for Australia - brought to you by @SamsungUK | #SamsungRugby https://t.co/FRmqii2hWY

Sports journalist Nick Howson praised Argentina's open approach to the match, but he believed it made proceedings all the easier for Australia:

Nick Howson @NickHowson

Credit to #ARG for playing with such freedom in a game full of pressure. Can't help but feel they are playing into #AUS's hands though.

The Pumas pushed forward in a bid to reduce the deficit and came up against Australia's strong defence, but were able to win another penalty for Sanchez to convert.

Argentina lock Tomas Lavinini was sin-binned for a no-arms tackle, and things got worse for the Pumas when Agustin Creevy went off injured.

Australia capitalised on their man advantage, dragging Argentina over to the right side of the pitch before quickly working it left. Matt Giteau threw an exquisite pass to Ashley-Cooper, who duly went over in the corner for his brace:

ITV Rugby @ITVRugby

TRY! Ashley-Cooper goes over again as Australia dominate - brought to you by @SamsungUK | #SamsungRugby https://t.co/Ct4gkxXh8N

The Pumas refused to give up, and after scoring another penalty, they almost grabbed a try in the dying seconds as Santiago Cordero burst forward magnificently and offloaded to Juan Martin Hernandez, but Joaquin Tuculet knocked on the back's own offload.

Australia's lead was briefly cut to seven points shortly after the restart as Foley missed a penalty before the ever-reliable Sanchez succeeded with one of his own, but the Wallabies fly-half redeemed himself with a long kick to restore the 10-point gap.

Nevertheless, FOX Sports' Mark Gottlieb is not convinced by Foley's inconsistent kicking:

Mark Gottlieb @MarkGottliebFOX

I have literally no faith in Bernard Foley's goal kicking. Struck that one nicely though #RWC2015 #ARGvAUS @FOXRugbyLive

Mark Gottlieb @MarkGottliebFOX

Bernard Foley could win Australia a World Cup with his head or he could lose it with his boot... #RWC2015 #ARGvAUS @FOXRugbyLive

A Sanchez penalty pulled another three points back, but try as they might, the Argentinians could not make further inroads as they turned the ball over far too often, while the Wallabies mounted a typically strong defence.

Ashley-Cooper made sure of the win with eight minutes of time remaining as he went over in the corner yet again, this time after a stunning diagonal run from Drew Mitchell, who beat three defenders before making the crucial pass:

ITV Rugby @ITVRugby

TRY! Ashley-Cooper completes hat-trick thanks to Mitchell run - brought to you by @SamsungUK | #SamsungRugby https://t.co/ZrfBzAj43s

Australia will meet archrivals New Zealand in the showpiece event on Saturday. The Wallabies have struggled against the All Blacks in recent times, so Foley's performance will be more important than ever, as they'll need to take every opportunity for points they can get.

Meanwhile, Argentina will face South Africa in the third-place play-off and will need to pick themselves up after a demoralising defeat, but their valiant efforts should stand them in good stead.

Post-Match Reaction

According to BBC Sport's Mike Henson, Australia coach Michael Cheika hailed his side's defence but believes there is still room for improvement ahead of the final:

What we did was let the game open up which suited them. I'm really happy with the lads' defence. We had to work hard to stop them from scoring a try. We can improve again and that's really important now. Now tonight we can think we've given ourselves a chance to play in a final and we will work out how we will do it against a dynamic team.

Per Henson, Australia's David Pocock added on ITV: "It was incredibly tough—as we knew it would be. Credit to Argentina, it was physical, but both teams looked to use the ball and both teams were working hard until the 80th minute."

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