ARGENTINA 37 ITALY 22
Argentina's captain Felipe Contepomi Riccardo Bocchino (L) and Simone Favaro to score a try. Photo: Reuters
Captain Felipe Contepomi scored 22 points as Argentina made a winning start to their programme of June tests with a 37-22 victory over Italy in San Juan on Saturday.
Contepomi ran in one of four tries by his team and also kicked three penalties and four conversions for the Pumas who will meet France in a two-test series over the next two weekends.
Italy had the better of the opening half hour at the Bicentenario stadium in the western city of San Juan with Kristopher Burton slotting an early penalty and the pack earning a penalty try converted by the flyhalf.
However, Argentina changed ends 13-10 ahead after flanker Tomas Leonardi's try and a conversion by Contepomi, 35, who is winding down his career and unlikely to play for the Pumas in their debut season in the southern hemisphere's Rugby Championship later this year.
Italy scrumhalf Edoardo Gori scored a try from a scrum early in the second half. The home side, who have worked on more attacking ploys under consultant Graham Henry, New Zealand's 2011 World Cup-winning coach, then took the upper hand.
Prop Rodrigo Roncero, in his penultimate international before retiring, number eight Leonardo Senatore and Contepomi ran in tries between the 54th and 72nd minutes to settle the match.
Flanker Mauro Bergamasco then grabbed another try for Italy converted by replacement back Riccardo Bocchino.
ARGENTINA 37 (Tomas Leonardi, Rodrigo Roncero, Leonardo Senatore, Felipe Contepomi tries; Contepomi 3 pens, 4 con) def ITALY 22 (penalty try, Edoardo Gori, Mauro Bergamasco tries. Kristopher Burton pen; Burton, Riccardo Bocchino cons).