Perth (Australia) (AFP) - Australia beat Argentina 36-20 in the Rugby Championship on Saturday in a bruising encounter which ensured the All Blacks wrapped up the title with two games to spare.
A stunning opening salvo with three tries in the first 12 minutes set the hosts on their way and man-of-the-match Will Genia grabbed two tries as the Wallabies won their second game in a row in their last home Test for the year.
It gave New Zealand their fourth southern hemisphere title in five years after the world champions routed South Africa 41-13 earlier on Saturday for their fourth straight bonus-point win.
Before the Wallabies? 23-17 win over South Africa last week, they had been beaten in six successive Tests and coach Michael Cheika was facing increasing pressure.
The Pumas were expected to prove a tough opponent, having shown good early form against New Zealand before fading to be beaten 57-22 in their last outing.
However, the Wallabies scored their first try after just 43 seconds after playmaker Bernard Foley broke through the Argentine defence right from the kick-off.
Michael Hooper fed Samu Kerevi, who was brought down near the try line but was able to get up and drive over to open the scoring.
Dane Haylett-Petty, who plays for Perth's Western Force, then received a superb Quade Cooper pass in the eighth minute and he charged to the line for the Wallabies? second try.
- Genia brilliance -
A piece of individual brilliance by scrum-half Genia then added Australia?s third try in the 12th minute against a shell-shocked Argentina.
Genia crunched Nicolas Sanchez in a tackle and the ball spilled free, allowing the Australian, who had kept his feet while his opponent went to ground, to kick it forward.
He then collected the ball on the bounce and dived over to further extend the home side's lead, which became 21-0 when Foley notched his third conversion from as many attempts.
Two penalties to Sanchez kept the Pumas in the contest, although they trailed 21-6 at the break.
However, Australia had lost key flanker David Pocock to a hand injury late in the half.
The Pumas started the second half well and were rewarded with a try in the 44th minute, when Joaquin Tuculet made a break which ended with Santiago Cordero crossing.
The Sanchez conversion made it 21-13 and gave the visitors renewed hope, although veteran Juan Leguizamon was forced from the field after appearing to be knocked out in a tackle by Kerevi during the try-scoring play.
Pumas captain Agustin Creevy then limped off moments later, and was soon followed to the sidelines by Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore as the cost of a hard-hitting contest started to count.
The match was evenly poised, but in the 52nd minute Wallabies substitute Sean McMahon made a charging run, fending off several opponents and leading to Genia's second try and a 26-13 lead.
In the 64th minute, the home team again stretched their lead when Cooper again produced a deft pass to send Hooper through a gap and he scored under the posts to make it 33-13.
Foley crossed again for the home side in the 67th minute, but the try was disallowed due to contact off the ball by Cooper on Sanchez, for which the fly-half was sin-binned.
Facundo Isa added a late try for the Pumas but there was never much hope of the Pumas registering their first win in Australia since 1983.
Cheika praised the performance of the rejuvenated Genia, who combined well with Cooper and Foley.
"He's enjoying his football," he said.
"He's fit and sharp at the moment and he's got good threats outside him too, so there are opportunities for him to have a go himself and he's enjoying that."
Cheika said the trio would continue to improve as a unit and was pleased with the impact of his bench players, including McMahon.
He was unaware of the extent of the Pocock injury, although he noted the number eight wanted to come back on.
Argentina coach Michael Hourcade said his team was always on the back foot.
"We didn't expect to concede so many points early," he said.
"They made some movement with the ball and we made some silly mistakes.
"Against New Zealand we were good in defence for 55 minutes, but today we didn't have a good defence."