Neither side can win the Rugby Championship but who gives a toss. This is still test match rugby! I think this will be close. Argentina have been managing 50-60 minutes of great rugby and then fading. The Wallabies have been hot and cold. Anything could happen!
Having just watched the All Blacks pick apart South Africa 50-0 I was looking forward to seeing another great contest. And it was a contest with Argentina taking a 13-10 lead at halftime but it wasn’t pretty rugby. In fact, it was bloody ugly. Argentina scored the first try bashing the ball up one out over and over until Creevy made a neat hole for Sanchez to flop through and score. But the Wallabies, in one of the few bright spots in the half, scored a long-range movement off a scrum in their own half and four great phases later Folau crossed in the corner.
Stupid penalties have cost the Wallabies points. I mean under 15 stupid penalties that professional rugby players shouldn’t give. And to their credit, Argentina dominated territory and possession and could easily capitalise on Australia’s mistakes.
Michael Cheika talked about urgency and aggression in his post-halftime interview and it looked like the players had listened to him. Australia had possession and territory after the break and from a ten metre scrum they picked and drove three times quickly and one of the few forwards holding their heads high after the first half, Sekope Kepu, scored the try. Almost immediately after Folau finished off a great team try which featured a great offload from Rob Simmons to create the overlap. Suddenly Australia lead 24-13.
Argentina came back and again bashed away at the Wallabies line but Australia maned up beautifully to keep them out. And work their way downfield and camp in Argentina’s 22 for what seemed like half an hour and called scrum after scrum until the Pumas lost a prop to the bin. From the next scrum, Genia picked up and ran an easy try in on the blind side. From there the result was never in doubt. Australia ran in two more tries and Argentina scored one to leave the final score at 45-20.
The second half was much better from the Wallabies while the Pumas faded badly once again in the final quarter. In the end a deserved win to Australia.
Another flawed performance from the Wallabies full of missed tackles and gifted penalties to the opposition.
The Game Changer
Michael Cheika’s half time talking to did the trick this week. The first half Wallabies were unrecognisable in the second. One wonders why they need a talking to or a thrashing to perform?
The G&GR MOTM
It may be unpopular to give the man of the match trophies to props but I’m handing it to Sekope Kepu. He ran hard and made metres, Tackled well, was part of a good scum and scored a try. More than enough for any prop.
Coleman was immense again do the hard work that no one but other tight forwards notices. Kuridrani attracted the defence all day but he never stopped going forward. Sean McMahon had a good game at the back of the scrum but is second half was much better than his first.
Crowd: 14,229 icecubes.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Israel Folau 2, Sekope Kepu, Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Jordan Uelese
Conversions: Bernard Foley 5/5
Penalties: Bernard Foley 1/1
Tries: Martin Landajo, Matias Moroni
Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez 2/2
Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez 2/3 Emiliano Boffelli 0/1
Cards & citings
Enrique Pieretto (cheese)