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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Australia stumble past Pumas
Wendell Sailor scores the opening try of the World Cup
Australia 24
Tries: Sailor, Roff
Con: Flatley
Pens: Flatley (4)
Argentina 8
Try: Corleto
Pen: Contepomi

Australia 24-8 Argentina

Australia got the defence of their World Cup crown off to a winning start in a scrappy contest against Argentina.

The Pumas failed to live up to their pre-tournament promise as they struggled in almost every aspect of their game, while the Wallabies rarely ignited the capacity crowd at Sydney's Telstra Stadium.

But the match was marred by a serious injury to Wallaby lock David Giffin, who was stretchered off the field early in the second half.

Giffin landed heavily on his head directly from the restart and was taken immediately to hospital.

Australia never looked in danger of losing, scoring tries courtesy of Wendell Sailor and Joe Roff and 14 points from the boot of Elton Flatley, while Ignacio Corleto notched up the Pumas' only try.

Sailor's score was one of only a few thrilling moments of the match, making history as the tournament's opening try scorer after a superb run of play on 20 minutes.

It was a tough match - at some stages we had it
Pumas captain Agustin Pichot

The ball passed through a flurry of forwards and backs before arriving at Sailor, who broke through three tackles to touch down.

Earlier Flatley had successfully landed two penalties.

The hosts looked set to run away with the contest at 11-0 when Manuel Contepomi was sin-binned for an illegal tackle on Mat Rogers.

Despite that, the Pumas briefly took control, holding the Wallabies to just one more penalty in the half and scoring two of their own through the boot of Contepomi's brother Felipe.

But for the remainder of the game Contepomi had a kicking nightmare, missing several chances in both halves.

It was a scratchy performance on some aspects
Aussie captain George Gregan

The second half resumed in dire circumstances with Giffin's injury, which saw play halted for nearly 10 minutes as he received medical attention.

That failed to halt Australia, who continued to dominate the game, coming within a whisker of a second try soon after the interval, only for Phil Waugh's pass to Roff to travel forward.

Flatley added another penalty, his fourth of the afternoon, before Ignacio Corleto scored against the run of play.

The Argentine dived into the left-hand corner to briefly restore some pride before Roff hit back with a second Australian try five minutes from time, piercing the Argentine backs with a well-timed run under the posts.

Australia: M Rogers; W Sailor, M Burke, E Flatley, J Roff; S Larkham, G Gregan (capt); D Lyons, P Waugh, G Smith, N Sharpe, D Giffin, A Baxter, B Cannon, B Young.
Replacements: J Paul, B Darwin, D Vickerman, M Cockbain, C Whitaker, M Giteau, L Tuqiri.

Argentina: I Corleto; J-M Nunez Piossek, M Contepomi, J Orengo, D Albanese; F Contepomi, A Pichot (capt); R Grau, M Ledesma, O Hasan, I Fernandez-Lobbe, P Albacete, S Phelan, R Martin, G Longo.
Replacements: F Mendez, M Reggiardo, R Alvarez, M Durand, N Fernandez-Miranda, G Quesada, J Hernandez

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