Ewen McKenzie’s Wallabies have lost their first three test matches and head into their fourth match with their third Captain. Argentina must sniff blood on the air. Can the Wallabies lift?
Photos courtesy of Greg Seaton
The game started off very scratchily. The Wallabies had opportunities to pressure the Pumas defence but a poor pass from Nic White and an offside from Rob Simmons let them off the hook. The Argentinians managed to score off their first trip to the wallabies 22 after Nick Cummins made a poor decision to run across his goal after fielding the ball from a kick. He failed to release the ball and the Pumas slotted the easy penalty.
Australia hit back with their own penalty for a ruck infringement moments later. Five minutes later when the Pumas scrum collapsed trying to put a second shove on and Leali’ifano slotted it and the Wallabies lead 6-3 at the 20 minute mark.
The Wallabies tried to play for territory but poor handling and sloppy play kept them from adding points. Then a nice mini break from Christian Leali’ifano and quick hands from White, Cooper and O’Connor allowed Israel Folau to cut back to score the Wallabies first try.
The Argentine forwards short passing game in the wet was exceptional. They used it to good effect to pressure the wallabies try line and it was only Scott Fardy who, playing the ball off the ground, managed to save the day. Right on half time the Wallabies won another ruck penalty and Leali’ifano slotted it to have the Wallabies leading 14-3 at half time.
Both teams looked disjointed in the first half. The conditions were horrible and both leading to a lot of unforced errors.
The first ten minutes of the second half was all Argentina. They used their scrum dominance to park in the Wallabies 22. The Wallabies scrum again looked very ordinary and they survived without giving away points by pure chance. Ben Alexander was again popping like a cork and gave away penalties in half the scrums he packed.
As the game went on the Argentine forward dominance continued and the Wallabies couldn’t rely on the set piece for clean ball. Nic White then compounded his average game with the boot by feeding the scrum crooked and handing Argentina their first points of the second half.
Then the Pumas sneaked a little closer with a questionable converted try to Leguizamon after Leali’ifano appeared to be checked tackling him. But the video ref awarded the try and the score was 14-13 with 15 minutes to play.
After the kick off Australia managed to drive the ball deep into the Pumas half and won a ruck penalty but Leali’ifano missed to the right and Argentina was able to kick their way out of trouble.
The 14-13 score line remained at the end of the match but this would have been a very frustrating game for both teams. Australia’s set piece look shockingly bad and Argentina’s discipline let them down.
The Game Changer
From about the 45 minute the Argentinian scrum dominated. Australia had no answer and I fear this will not change without changes at the coaching level.
The G&GR MOTM
Nic White kicked far too much and poorly. Ben Alexander had a shocker! Cooper look okay until going off injured.
Score & Scorers
Penalties: Leali’ifano 3
Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez
Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez 2
Cards & citings