A lot has been said about both teams coach’s this week and their history, but coaches don’t play rugby. That’s the player’s job, to take the coaches vision and turn it into something resembling rugby. It’s fair to say the Wallabies didn’t do that last week. I only caught 15 minutes of the Pumas game, but I think it’s fair to say their coach wasn’t that happy either. It will be interesting to see which Randwick boy is smiling at the end of this game.
The first half.
After watching New Zealand v South Africa just before the game, the pace seems ever so slightly slower. The Wallabies and Los Pumas were feeling each other out until Mark Nawaqanitawase decided to take a quick tap and tear off down field. When they eventually caught him, he offloaded to Wright, who made another ten metres. The Wallabies had quick front foot ball and Cooper was able to throw a long “flat” pass to Kerevi who popped inside to Ikitau who smashed his way over for the try. Ikitau shoulder looked stuffed, and he only lasted another five minutes or so before painfully being replaced by Carter Gordon. Cooper converted the try and a penalty a few minutes later, and the Wallabies were leading 10-0.
The Wallabies let their lead slip away over the next ten minutes. Firstly, giving away a kickable penalty, then the Pumas scored a try through de la Fuente who powered over close to the line.
It was 10-10 at half time, but the final 20 minutes of the first half was clearly all Argentina. The Wallabies were leaking penalties and with no outside back on the bench, their rejigged back line was stuttering a bit in defence. Ritchie Arnold compounded the ?wallabies troubles with his Yellow card in the 39 minute for playing the ball on the ground. There needs to be a real correction at half time, and I’d be tempted to move Koroibete to 13 and Carter Gordon to the wing.
The Second Half
The Wallabies went full gimp and gave away penalty after penalty. It didn’t take long for the self-inflicted pressure to result in the Pumas scoring through
James Slipper Julian Montoya who smashed 7A’s to score close to the posts.
The Wallabies remembered how things are supposed to work and managed to work their way into the Pumas 22. Nic White changed his plans at the scrum base and bolted to the blind and score just to the right of the posts. It was once again all even at 17 all. The Pumas almost instantly kicked a 45 metre penalty to edge in front 20-17.
Bear with me, I was caught up in the action. Firstly, Mateo Carreras ran on to a great ball to increase the Pumas lead to 10 points. Then, the Wallabies struck back twice through Kerevi and an intercept by Nawaqanitawase for the Wallabies to lead 31-27. Then, either a late tackle by Kerevi or a high tackle from Cooper handed the Pumas a penalty and a chance for a lineout close to the wallabies line. The Pumas did what they needed to do and eventually Marten dove over a ruck to score the winning try.
The Wash Up
The Wallabies gave away penalties at crucial times, were yellow carded and lost possession in contact at ruck time. Argentina played with a composure, the Wallabies would love to have and deserved their win.
Australia – 31
Tries: Ikitau, White, Kerevi
Conversions: Cooper 3
Argentina – 34
Tries: de la Fuente, Montoya, Carreras, Marten
Conversions: Boffelli 4
Penalties: Boffelli 2