PERTH - There's nothing like a good piece of irony.
For all the talk of playing pretty, it was the Wallabies' ability to win ugly against Argentina on Saturday night that could end up being the making of the side.
In driving rain and a flukey breeze, Australia hung on grimly in the second half to notch a 14-13 win in front of 18,214 sodden fans in Perth.
The result snapped a four-match losing run and gave Ewen McKenzie his first win as national coach.
But more importantly, the victory gave the Wallabies a much-needed confidence boost heading into their September 28 showdown with the Springboks in South Africa and a re-match with Argentina in Rosario.
McKenzie is keen for his team to embrace his expansive game plan.
But he also wants them to win ugly when the conditions call for it — something they were able to do against Argentina, despite being dominated at scrum time in the second half.
McKenzie hopes it will be a launching pad to greater things, starting with their two-game trip to South Africa and Argentina.
"No one will back us to win those games, but now we've got a bit of confidence," McKenzie said.
"Confidence is a dangerous thing, so we can work with it.
"You need the win to validate what you've been doing.
"It's not exactly how we want to do it, but we couldn't control how the weather was going to be.
"We haven't abandoned how we want to play.
"We haven't changed anything philosophically.
"I think the thing that might be lost is that Australia haven't got a great reputation of winning games in the wet."
Back rower Ben Mowen, who captained the side after scrumhalf Will Genia was relegated to the bench, felt the win would play a key role in the side's development.
"I've played in teams where you just get that one win on the board and then five, six wins later you look back and you think, 'that was just an outstanding effort'," Mowen said.
"This potentially could be that effort that propels the side."
Genia faces a fight to earn back his starting spot against the Springboks after Nic White put on a star display against Argentina.
Fullback Israel Folau scored Australia's only try when he fended off four opponents to cross over.
The Wallabies led 14-3 at half-time, but were forced to defend for most of the second half.