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Victorious Wallabies set their sights on All Blacks

Israel Folau scored a hat trick of tries for the Wallabies against the Pumas

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Article Published: Sunday 6 October 2013

Australia adjusted their sights toward mighty New Zealand Sunday after finishing the Rugby Championship on a high note in Argentina.

Wallabies full-back Israel Folau crossed the line three times in a seven-try 54-17 pounding of the Pumas at Estadio Gigante de Arroyito in Rosario this weekend.

Coach Ewen McKenzie scuppered the field-kicking tactics used for part of a heavily loss in South Africa the previous weekend and the ball-in-hand approach worked a treat.

Ahead after only three minutes when Folau struck, the Australians built a 25-10 half-time lead and a couple of late tries sealed a stunning success.

Now arch rivals and Rugby Championship title-holders the All Blacks loom with a dead-rubber third Bledisloe Cup Test on October 19 in Dunedin.

New Zealand are seeking a hat-trick over Australia this season having won 47-29 away and 27-16 at home in the southern hemisphere championship.

And the manner in which the men in black triumphed 38-27 away to the Springboks this weekend at Ellis Park in Johannesburg illustrated the task awaiting the Wallabies.

But Folau, who finished the Championship as the second highest try scorer with five behind All Black Ben Smith, believes his team will not be cannon fodder.

"It is critical that we go to Dunedin with the same passion shown in Rosario," he told reporters in the Argentine city 300 kilometres north west of Buenos Aires.

"Defeating the Pumas was great and now we want to win two in a row. The All Blacks are obviously going to be a pretty tough challenge."

Skipper and lock James Horwill, part of a pack that tamed the much-vaunted Pumas forwards, said it was vital to build from the Rosario romp.

"It is crucial that we do not go backwards from here -- we have to move forward. There must be no resting on our laurels," he warned.

"Beating the Pumas must not be a one-off performance. It must be the stepping stone on the road to bigger and better things."

Horwill was particularly proud of the way his forwards stood up to the Pumas in the scrums -- traditionally an area that creates great Wallaby discomfort.

"All the effort we put into training paid off. We stuck at it, even when we were twice down to 14 men because of yellow cards.

"It was tough out there, but we got the result we were looking for," he said of by far the biggest Australian victory in Argentina.

The best the Wallabies did on eight previous visits was winning by 11 points in Buenos Aires in 1979 and repeating that feat in the capital city 23 years later.

Loose forward Scott Fardy, who stood out on defence and at the breakdown, was not surprised by the Wallaby performance.

"We played really well at times in our home and away defeats by New Zealand and South Africa. I thought we were good during the second half in Cape Town.

"Now we must go home, rest, and by the weekend start focusing on the All Blacks and set off for Dunedin hungry to achieve a good result."

A miserable weekend for wooden spooners Argentina was completed by the citing of scrum-half Martin Landajo for alleged foul play.

English referee Wayne Barnes spotted the ruck incident, awarded Australia a penalty, and gave the Puma a verbal warning.

But the citing commissioner said the incident met the red-card threshold for foul play and a SANZAR judicial officer will investigate.

Rugby Championship Standings
Nation Games Points    
1. Australia 3 3 0 0 85 48 37 1 13
2. New Zealand 3 2 1 0 85 65 20 1 9
3. Argentina 3 1 2 0 64 98 -34 1 5
4. South Africa 3 0 3 0 65 88 -23 2 2
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