Australia set up a Rugby Championship title decider with New Zealand next month after two late tries completed a 34-9 triumph over Argentina in Mendoza Saturday.

The Wallabies led 8-6 at half-time and pulled away in the second half for a victory that left them level on nine points with the All Blacks ahead of an August 8 Sydney showdown.

After struggling for an hour to translate plentiful possession and territory into points, Australia snatched a four-try bonus point with two in the final three minutes.

Earlier Saturday in Johannesburg, a clever late try from skipper Richie McCaw off a line-out manouevre helped New Zealand defeat South Africa 27-20.

Australia trooped off at half-time wondering why they were only two points ahead against the Pumas after attacking relentlessly while restricting Argentina to a few brief spells of superiority.

The Wallabies virtually owned the ball during the opening stages at the 40,000-seat Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, coming close to scoring several times.

Matt Toomua was an early casualty after a clash of heads with rival inside centre Juan Pablo Socino forced him off the field for a concussion test which he failed.

Quade Cooper, dropped after a 24-20 Brisbane win over South Africa last weekend, came on and Australia finally got some reward with 17 minutes gone.

Full-back Israel Folau collected an aimless Argentine kick inside his half, counter-attacked and fly-half Bernard Foley unleashed winger Joe Tomane to sprint over the line.

Foley failed to convert and rival fly-half Nicolas Sanchez narrowed the gap to two points by slotting a penalty on the half hour.

Sanchez, who played poorly in the heavy away loss to New Zealand last weekend, was much improved and earlier came close with an ambitious drop-goal attempt.       

Foley fluffed an angled penalty kick from just outside the 22-metre line, but made amends from another kick at goal on 40 minutes.

There was still time for Argentina to win another penalty and Sanchez made no mistake from close range, leaving his side with a flattering two-point deficit at the break.

Although the first part of the second half was more evenly contested, Australia had greater scoring success and stretched their lead to 19-9 by the hour.

Foley kicked two penalties, one a wobbly close-range effort and the other a much smoother shot from a longer distance.

Sanchez trimmed the deficit by three points with his third successful penalty only for Australia to go 10 points clear with a try by replacement lock Dean Mumm that should not have been awarded.

Big-screen replays showed replacement loose forward Michael Hooper passing forward to Mumm — back after a five-year Test absence — who held off several challenges to dot down.

Australia were temporarily reduced to 14 men on 66 minutes when a high, late tackle by Cooper led to a yellow card. 

But the sin-binning had little effect with the Wallabies finishing strongly and centre Tevita Kuridrani and winger Adam Ashley-Cooper scored tries with Foley converting one. – Agence France-Presse

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