Flyhalf Felipe Contepomi kicked Argentina's Pumas to a 27-26 victory over New South Wales (NSW) on Tuesday in Sydney.
Contepomi, who played fullback in Saturday's 53-6 loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane, staked a strong claim for the pivot position in Saturday's return match against Australia in Canberra.
He landed six of his eight kicks at goal and supplied 22 of the Pumas' points.
The NSW Waratahs relinquished their grip on the game midway through the second half when they were reduced to 13 men after prop Matt Dunning and reserve front rower Phil Tyler were sin binned by referee Greg Hinton for separate bouts of punching.
The Pumas scored tries through Contepomi and winger Jose Nunez Piossek while the Waratahs were undermanned.
Prior to the props' ill-timed indiscretions, the Waratahs had more than matched the tourists with winger Scott Staniforth crossing for two tries.
The Waratahs top try scorer gave the home team a flying start by crossing after just 95 seconds.
Flyhalf turned fullback Manuel Edmonds timed his run into the back line perfectly, swooped on a pass from centre Nathan Grey and sent Staniforth on an unchallenged 22 metre dash to the line.
Edmonds landed two first half penalties, the last after the siren to give NSW an 11-6 half-time advantage.
Prop Leopoldo de Chazal got over the Waratahs line in the 33rd minute but dropped the ball.
Contepomi nailed two out of his three first half penalty attempts to keep the Pumas in the game.
After the break, Staniforth notched his second try in the 52nd minute when he charged onto a pass from Grey.
However, the loss of their props unhinged a Waratahs pack which had already lost hooker Mark Crick with a neck injury in the 18th minute.
Contepomi kicked two penalties to narrow the deficit to four points and then put the Pumas ahead when he slipped between lock Tom Bowman and Staniforth and around Edmonds for a slick try in the 62nd minute.
Argentina moved eight points clear when Contepomi converted a 71st minute try to winger Jose Piossek.
Dunning partially redeemed himself by scoring the Waratahs' third try in the final minute, which Edmonds converted to narrow the gap to one – (AFP)
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