Leali'ifano leads Wallabies to 16-10 win over Argentina

Argentina's Ramiro Moyano, right, is tackled by Australia's Sekope Kepu, left, during a Rugby Championship match between Australia and Argentina in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Argentina's Matias Moroni is tackled during a Rugby Championship match between Australia and Argentina in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Australia's Will Genia kicks the ball during a Rugby Championship match between Australia and Argentina in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Australia's Rory Arnold catches the ball during a Rugby Championship match between Australia and Argentina in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Argentina's Matias Moroni, right, is tackled by Australia's Samu Kerevi, left, during the Rugby Championship match between Australia and Argentina in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
FILE - In this June 1, 2019, file photo, Brumbies' Christian Leal'ifano reacts in the Super Rugby game against the Sunwolves in Tokyo. Leali'ifano is set to play his first test in more than three years for Australia in a remarkable recovery from leukemia.(AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)
Australia's coach Michael Cheika stands prior to a Rugby Championship match between Australia and Argentina in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Argentina's Nicolas Sanchez, right, is tackled during a Rugby Championship match between Australia and Argentina in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
Argentina's coach Mario Ledesma cross his arms prior to a Rugby Championship match between Australia and Argentina in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

BRISBANE, Australia — Flyhalf Christian Leali'ifano, playing his first test in more than three years for Australia after recovering from leukemia, kicked three penalties and a conversion in the Wallabies' 16-10 win over Argentina in a Rugby Championship match Saturday.

Leali'ifano played the last of his 19 tests in June 2016, two months before he was diagnosed with leukemia. He recovered after intensive treatment to rejoin the Canberra-based Brumbies in Super Rugby late in the 2017 season.

It was just Australia's fifth win from its past 17 test matches.

Center Reece Hodge scored a first-half try to help Australia to a 10-3 halftime lead. Forward Facundo Isa made it close for Argentina with a try with six minutes remaining that replacement Joaquin Diaz Bonilla converted.

Leali'ifano also helped set up Hodge's try with a back pass to Marika Koroibete.

"I'm really excited, a few nerves coming in but now enjoying it, an unreal atmosphere tonight," Leali'ifano said leaving the match after 51 minutes.

Halfback Will Genia, playing his last test at Suncorp Stadium — the venue he led the Queensland Reds to their sole Super Rugby title back in 2011 — produced his best performance in months. Genia's kicking game was exceptional and he moved the Wallabies out of trouble on a number of occasions in the opening 20 minutes.

Australia has won 11 of 13 matches in Brisbane with Genia in the lineup. Genia, who will play in Japan next season, was cheered off the field after being replaced in the 60th minute.

The Wallabies' front-row dominated Argentina at the scrum. They won a number of penalties at the set-piece and were helped by the return of Scott Sio at loosehead prop.

"Really pleasing, we love coming up here," Australia captain Michael Hooper said. "We're really pleased with our play and how we bounced back from a short week's turnaround."

Australia lost to South Africa 35-17 last weekend in Johannesburg while Argentina was beaten 20-16 by New Zealand. Earlier Saturday, New Zealand and South Africa played to a 16-16 draw.

Due to the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan beginning in late September, the tournament has been reduced to three rounds. In two weeks, Australia hosts New Zealand at Perth and South Africa travels to Buenos Aires to play Argentina.

_____

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

People also read these

Earnhardt Jr. said lingering symptoms kept him...

Sep 4, 2016

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is pointed toward getting healthy and returning to Hendrick Motorsports ins 2017

US firm Liberty Media buying Formula One auto...

Sep 7, 2016

Formula One has been bought by Liberty Media, a U.S. company that invests in entertainment and...

Valeri Liukin national team coordinator for USA...

Sep 16, 2016

USA Gymnastics didn't look far for to find Martha Karolyi's successor as the leader of its...

Paralyzed detective who forgave shooter eulogized...

Jan 13, 2017

New York City's mayor says a police officer best known for forgiving a teenage gunman who left him...

Jackpot! Vegas looks to score big win by landing...

Jan 19, 2017

The Oakland Raiders have filed paperwork to move to Las Vegas

About Us

The World Insiders brings you exclusive coverage from across the globe in a timely, easy to consume format sourced directly from our regional media partners.

Contact us: sales[at]theworldinsiders.com

Subscribe Now!