Big guns both claim wins

  • Last Updated: September 8 2012, 15:16 BST

Australia avoided a third successive defeat in the Rugby Championship after claiming a 26-19 comeback win over South Africa in Perth.

  • Scott Higginbotham scores an Australia try
  • Cory Jane is congratulated by Israel Dagg as New Zealand score 

The Wallabies, who suffered back-to-back losses to New Zealand in their opening two matches, failed to penetrate the South African defence in the first half and trailed 13-6 at the interval.

However, they crossed twice in the second period to secure the victory and move to within three points of the previously-undefeated Springboks, who had claimed a win and a draw against Argentina in their previous two outings.

Wallabies reserve Scott Higginbotham replaced Radike Samo and had an immediate impact when he broke though the South African line and scored alongside the uprights in the 56th minute.

Prop Ben Alexander then ploughed into the corner in the 69th minute to score what would prove to be the decisive try.

Berrick Barnes contributed the rest of Australia's points as he finished with a 100 per cent record with the boot, while Morne Steyn and Francois Steyn combined for 14 of South Africa's 19 points, with the visitors' sole try coming from Bryan Habana .

New Zealand were made to work hard for a 21-5 victory over newcomers Argentina in awful conditions in Wellington.

The All Blacks led only 6-5 after a first half littered with handling errors, but Aaron Cruden's third penalty and tries in the final quarter from wingers Julian Savea and Cory Jane secured victory.

A third win from as many games leaves New Zealand top of the table, while Argentina remain on two points for the tournament.

Cruden drew first blood but the Pumas took the lead when Rodrigo Roncero showed great power to break through the home defence on the line for his sixth try in Tests. Martin Rodriguez's conversion attempt hit the post and bounced wide.

Cruden slotted his second penalty to nudge New Zealand back in front at 6-5 in the 25th minute, after a ruck infringement by Roncero.

But the All Blacks stepped up a gear as the game neared its end and finally gave themselves a comfortable position with 13 minutes to go. Conrad Smith drew three defenders before offloading to Nonu, who unselfishly gave the glory to Savea in the corner.

And Jane soon dived over for a second try after racing onto a long miss pass from Cruden which was ruled not to be forward. Cruden this time landed an excellent conversion from wide on the right to make it 21-5.