Andrew Kellaway hat-trick steers Australia past Argentina in Rugby Championship

Australia stormed to a second-place finish in the 2021 Rugby Championship after Andrew Kellaway's hat-trick of tries guided Dave Rennie's side to a 32-17 win over Argentina on Saturday.

Samu Kerevi and Folau Fainga'a also crossed over as the Wallabies concluded their campaign with a final bonus-point victory at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.

Benetton prop Thomas Gallo came off the bench to score both of Argentina's tries on his debut, but the second-half brace was subtle consolation for Mario Ledesma's men.

The result represents a dramatic turnaround for the makeshift tournament hosts, whose spirits looked battered after opening their Rugby Championship with back-to-back losses against New Zealand.

But Australia responded in style and have collected four consecutive wins in the competition for the first time in their history, guaranteeing second place ahead of South Africa, who will finish third.

The Pumas were destined for last place regardless of Saturday's outcome in Robina, but the result also means they finish without a point for only the second time in nine editions of the Rugby Championship.

Their chances weren't helped after six Pumas flouted Queensland's lockdown rules in a midweek trip to Byron Bay, ruling them out of contention for the Week 6 matchup.

Argentina likely wouldn't have changed the outcome even with the likes of Pablo Matera, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla and Santiago Medrano in the squad.

Such were Australia's standards in a fixture that rarely looked out of their control, with Rennie's rejuvenated ranks rallying to a result that poses good omens for what's to come for this team.

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The reunited half-back pairing of Quade Cooper and Nic White in particular continues to impress, while Kellaway's supreme finishing ability was once again on show for all to see.

So good was the Melbourne Rebel, in fact, that the Wallabies didn't appear to miss his club team-mate Marika Koroibete, who left the squad this past week to be with his new-born son.

Hooker Fainga'a is another of the restored Wallabies making up for last time, barging over after 28 minutes before Kellaway's first of the day helped build a 15-3 half-time lead.

Silky link-up play courtesy of Cooper put Kerevi in shortly after the restart, only for Kellaway to widen the gap with two more scores in the space of four minutes.

The red-headed menace is a shoo-in for the Rugby Championship's top try-scorer award after boosting his tally to seven overall; not a bad return for a player who only made his Test debut in July.

Gallo, 22, will also take positives from his second-half cameo having accounted for Argentina's only tries on the day, offering Ledesma food for thought in the hooker head-to-head with captain Julian Montoya.

New Zealand have already secured this year's Rugby Championship ahead of Saturday's closing match with the Springboks and hope to end their competition with six wins from six.

Having broken new ground in the southern-hemisphere contest, Australia will now turn their attention to the upcoming tour north of the equator, where they'll face Japan, Scotland, England and Wales.

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