Pumas v Wallabies - Match Preview - Green and Gold Rugby

Pumas v Wallabies – Match Preview

Pumas v Wallabies – Match Preview

Australia, for the first time in what seem like forever, have retained the same starting XV, while Argentina are still in search of their first victory in the Rugby Championship.


After a hard start being beaten by the All Blacks in Sydney, the Aussies have been improving game by game, playing an almost perfect game in Dunedin (New Zealand) to then drawing twice against the strong South African team. The statistics are blunt, Australia has lost only once against Argentina since the Rugby Championship has started. However, the Wallabies fans are not entirely in agreement with some players picked by their head coach Michael Cheika, who insists on choosing them. Despite that, Australia is the clear favourite to win this game.

After two consecutive defeats against the South African team and a hard tour in Oceania where they were defeated by New Zealand and Australia, the team will look for its first victory. Despite all the shortcomings that the Australian team has, especially when they face their New Zealand neighbours, Argentine players have stated that because of their style of play, Australia is the most difficult team to defend against, because they have many variants in attack.

Photo by Tom Offer

Photo by Tom Offer


Michael Cheika has decided to keep the same starting XV that drew against South Africa in Bloemfontein, so we can interpret that the game plan will be the same. He is looking for a solid team for the 2019 World Cup, so he will keep the same ideas. The scrum has improved with Tatafu Polota-Nau, who is probably the best scrummager in Australia. The front row greatly improved their performance in the last game in Bloemfontein, so if those commanded by Mario Ledesma maintain that performance level, they should have no problems against the Argie front row that has not been strong in the scrum in recent games.

The battle of the breakdown will be important so Michael Hooper and Sean McMahon will have to help the rookie Jack Dempsey in this aspect. McMahon has been a very important player in the last games, proving to be a key piece in the pigs, therefore the Australian Rugby Union must make all the possible effort to retain him.

The backline will have two well-defined playmakers such in Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale. Furthermore, Bernard Foley has greatly improved his accuracy in goal kicking since that fateful night in Dunedin. The defense will consist of three tough tacklers in Tevita Kuridrani, Reece Hodge and Marika Koroibete. Israel Folau will be the most important weapon of the team, as he has demonstrated since he arrived in Rugby Union. Folau will continue to be the X factor of this team, the ace up the sleeve, that can appear anywhere on the field to intimidate the Argentine defenders.

Israel Folau is tackled Wallabies v Springboks Perth 2017 (Photo Credit: Delphy)


In the Argentine camp things have been very different. Due to the poor results, the head coach Daniel Hourcade decided to make radical changes in the team.

Tomas Lavanini and Ramiro Herrera have been left out of the squad because they both received yellow cards in the last game. The ill-discipline has been a determining factor in the defeats, for this reason, Daniel Hourcade has decided to take a strong stand in the matter and not to forgive those undisciplined players.

The front row will be the same that started the game last week against the All Blacks in Velez Sarfields Stadium: Lucas Noguera, Agustin Creevy and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. The second row will be completely new, with Matías Alemanno and Marcos Kremmer, the latter playing his first match as a starter.

In the back row there will be a significant change, the experienced Juan Manuel Leguizamon will leave the team to give way to Javier Ortega Desio, who will play with Pablo Matera and Tomas Lezana.

Due to the absence of Tomas Cubelli, who suffered a fracture in the fifth vertebra in the match agains the All Blacks, Martin Landajo will be the starter as a scrum half, while Gonzalo Bertranou could make his debut in the competition. Cubelli will have to undergo surgery, therefore, he is ruled out for the entire season. There is concern for Jeronimo de la Fuente, who has been feeling some pain. If there are no problems, he will start. Otherwise, Juan Martin Hernandez or Santiago González Iglesias could replace him. The other backs will be the same ones that faced the Kiwis a week ago.


The breakdown: Argentina was in the breakdown in the game in Canberra during the first 40 minutes. Then the Aussies could match the Argie back row like a hurricane in the second half. If Argentines can re-dominate Aussies in this respect, they could make things difficult for them. The challenge will be to maintain that domain for over 40 minutes. The Australian team has improved in the breakdown, so it will not be easy for the Argentines to regain control.

Scrum: The Argentine scrum has been harshly criticized by their supporters, since it is an aspect that historically has been a strength of the team. The Pumas have an obligation to improve and try to subdue the Wallabies in this set piece. On the other hand, the Aussies have been solid in the last game in South Africa, led by the Argie Mario Ledesma, who sounds like a possible new coach of the Jaguars for the next Super Rugby season. This would be a hard loss for Michael Cheika’s staff, because the former Argentine hooker has done a fantastic job since being hired by the Australian Rugby Union.

Running rugby: This is one of the biggest advantages that Australia has. The Argentinians have stated that the Australian attack is at the same level as that of the All Blacks attack. They are unpredictable and can attack from anywhere. If the Aussies are on a good night, they could break the Argentine defense on several occasions with lethal men like Israel Folau and Marika Koroibete. The Pumas defense must raise its level to keep these men away from their in-goal.

Michael Hooper runs Wallabies v Springboks Perth 2017 (Photo Credit: Delphy)


The statistics do not lie, the Wallabies have played 4 times in Argentina for the Rugby Championship and only lost in one outing, therefore everything indicates that in a sport as predictable as rugby this will not change. In addition, Australia has been the only team that could be at the same level as New Zealand throughout the tournament, specifically in the second game in Dunedin.

The only hope for the Argentine side comes from the mystic side, since the only victory in the Rugby Championship against the Aussies has been in this city and in the same stadium on October 4, 2014. But the most solid arguments are favorable to the team from Australia.

Wallabies by 15


15 Israel Folau 14 Marika Koroibete 13 Tevita Kuridrani 12 Kurtley Beale 11 Reece Hodge 10 Bernard Foley 9 Will Genia 8 Sean McMahon 7 Michael Hooper (c) 6 Jack Dempsey 5 Adam Coleman 4 Izack Rodda 3 Sekope Kepu 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore 17 Tetera Faulkner 18 Allan Alaalatoa 19 Rob Simmons 20 Lukhan Tui 21 Nick Phipps 22 Samu Kerevi 23 Henry Speight
Head Coach: Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika was practising being sad even before kickoff.

Michael Cheika was practising being sad even before kickoff.

15 Joaquín Tuculet 14 Matías Moroni 13 Matías Orlando 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente 11 Emiliano Boffelli 10 Nicolás Sánchez 9 Martín Landajo 8 Tomás Lezana 7 Javier Ortega Desio 6 Pablo Matera 5 Matías Alemanno 4 Marcos Kremer 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro 2 Agustín Creevy (c) 1 Lucas Noguera Paz
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya 17 Santiago García Botta 18 Enrique Pieretto 19 Benjamín Macome 20 Leonardo Senatore 21 Gonzalo Bertranou 22 Santiago González Iglesias 23 Santiago Cordero
Head Coach: Daniel Hourcade

Daniel Hourcade (at TG Millner 2015) will not choose those who play in Europe

Daniel Hourcade (at TG Millner 2015) will not choose those who play in Europe


Date: October 7, 2017
Kick off: 19:30 AST (9:30 am Sunday AEDT, 8:30 Sunday AEST)
Stadium: Malvinas Argentinas
City: Mendoza (Argentina)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Touch judges:
Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Television match official: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

  • Stop making the rest of us look bad by writing measured, researched content. It’s embarrassing.
    Ps Great write up. Hope you understand Aussie humour.

    • 30 mm tags

      Correct Sully. Most of us only read these writeups expecting the insane with a dose of a conspiracy. Marcelo might enjoy some classics from the Betoota Advocate if he has to fill a few minutes in at the barber shop.

      • Marcelo Cardozo

        What are you talking about, Willis?

  • jamie

    Feel like you’re exaggerating the Wallabies skills in that prediction, but a fantastic write-up nonetheless. Tatafu would have to be the best or 2nd best scrummaging hooker in the world, right around Malcolm Marx (who is near Pocock like in physique).

    • joy

      I think Agustín Creevy is better than both as an all round hooker.

      • jamie

        I agree all round. But at scrumtime, TPN and Marx are powerful as all hell. Coles is probably the best throwing/open play Hooker in the world.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Hmm, late to the party but I can’t agree, Marx is my world 15 hooker (although I suspect if Bismarck du Plessis was brought back into the fold he’d still be the best in the world in almost every facet).

          Marx is a better scrummager than Creevy, as good as Creevy is at the breakdown Marx is almost Pocock-like, people just can’t move him.

          He’s a fantastic ball runner and a decent linkman. The only part of his game that needs work is line out throwing, but I think he’s better than Creevy in every other aspect (especially discipline).

          Marx then Coles then Creevy for me.

          Bismarck was the best scrummaging hooker, best line out thrower, most powerful and possibly best tight 5 forward of the professional era.

  • juswal

    Good preview, Marcelo. Danger will come for the Wallabies if they don’t score many tries. Argentina will kick goals, and their forwards should barge over for at least one try.

  • Greg

    Nice write up. Thanks.

  • Adrian

    Excellent write up.

    I think this will be a torrid affair for 60, after which the Wallabies should run-away with it.
    I said should not will, but this looks like the right sort of game for Beale, Folau, Korebette to excel

  • Simon

    Wallabies may have matched the ABs in Dunedin but so did the Pumas for about 50 minutes of both matches but ill-discipline and the class of the ABs overran them. They are definitely capable of choking off expansive play when their forwards are on their game.
    The Pumas’ problem has been inability to maintain the pressure for 80 minutes and I think that will happen here. Mendoza is a tough place to play but the Wallabies should have good lungs after their time at altitude. Wallabies to run away with it in the last 20.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    We’re harder to defend against than the All Blacks?

    What? Surely you’re just being generous?

  • Huw Tindall

    Very nice write up! If the Wallabies play a consistent 80 mins like they did against NZ in Dunedin and against the Bokies last week they should get the win here. That’s a big IF though. Consistency has been an issue for the Wallabies for the last 2 years. Whether it’s consistency in how they perform across 80 mins or just consistency in team selections with the revolving door second of second rowers, it’s been an issue. With the same starting 15 as last week we are a shot. Can’t discount the Argies though. Thanks to their goal kicking they will probably not be too far away on the scoreboard at any time, even if they aren’t scoring tries.

  • adastra32

    The 5th ranked world team is playing the 10th. Anything less than a convincing win will be underperformance for the WBs.


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