The Rugby Championship: Wallabies vs Pumas - Green and Gold Rugby
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The Rugby Championship: Wallabies vs Pumas

The Rugby Championship: Wallabies vs Pumas

Round two of The Rugby Championship heads back to Australia where the Wallabies hosting the Pumas at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. Both sides will be looking for their first win of 2019, as they look to brush off loses against South Africa and New Zealand respectively.

Argentina will come into this match confident of causing an upset against a shaky Wallabies side, having taken the All Blacks down to the wire in Buenos Aires. The Wallabies head back to fortress Suncorp after an ill-disciplined loss against South Africa and will be looking to get revenge for their shocking loss to the Pumas last year on the Gold Coast.

Background

The Wallabies are coming off a disappointing start to their 2019 campaign, losing 35-17 to the Springboks at Ellis Park. Whilst there were some positives to take out of the contest, the Wallabies were hampered once again by poor discipline in key moments and a lack of execution.

They need to find the determination and grit that they showed in their last game against Argentina, where they came back from a 24-point comeback to win 45-34 if they wish to get their Rugby World Cup campaign back on track.

Photo by Tom Offer

Photo by Tom Offer

The Pumas showed some promise in their opening match of the Championship, narrowly going down 20-16 to New Zealand. They had an opportunity to win the game at the death from a 5m lineout, however, they could not find a way past the black wall to secure their first win over the All Blacks.

The loss continues the struggles that have plagued the Pumas, having not won an international match in 10 months. However, they will take full confidence in the fact that it came against the Wallabies at CBUS Stadium, just one hour up from where they will play on Saturday.

Team News

The Wallabies have made five changes to the side that lost against the Springboks, highlighted by the return of Christian Lealiifano. Lealiifano slots into fly-half in place in Bernard Foley, which caps his remarkable return to rugby since he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2016.

He is joined in the new-look backline by Marika Korobiete, who returns after the birth of his child, replacing Dane Haylett-Petty along with Kurtley Beale, who has been promoted from the bench in place of Tom Banks. James O’Connor also marks his return to the Wallabies, with the outside back set to for his first cap since 2013 via the bench.

In further news, Scott Sio has recovered from injury and take his place in the starting lineup, pushing James Slipper to the bench and Harry Johnson-Holmes to the Lord Dudley Hotel whilst Luke Jones replaces Jack Dempsey on the bench.

The Pumas have also made five changes after their narrow loss to the All Blacks, headlined by the returns of overseas-based duo Facundo Isa and Santiago Cordero. The Toulon based Isa is set for his first cap since 2016, replacing Javier Ortega Desio at number 8, whilst Exeter Cordero slots onto the wing which pushes Matias Moroni into outside centre and relegates Matias Orlando to the bench.

In other changes, Julian Montoya replaces the inspirational Agustin Creevy at hooker with Tomas Lezana starting ahead of Marcos Kremer at Lock and fullback Joaquin Tuculet coming in for the rested Emiliano Boffelli.

Key Match-Ups

Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper

Pablo Matera vs Michael Hooper
Whilst both players will not necessarily line up against each other, this will be a huge matchup for both leaders, particularly Hooper. The match-up is almost Cheika’s version of expectations vs reality, with Matera establishing himself as one of the best flankers in the world over the past month. Matera was brilliant last week for Pumas, capping off his impressive month where he was named man of the match in the Jaguares Grand Final loss to the Crusaders.

Matera has stepped up to a level that Hooper has failed to maintain for both club and country across the past twelve months. Hooper needs to step up as the captain to lead his side out of the slump that they’ve found themselves and he must tackle his heart out to spot the likes of Maters and Petti. With the return of David Pocock impending, Hooper needs to have a huge game to cement his spot in the starting 15, along with diminishing the impact of Matera if the Wallabies wish to control the contest.

He's back!

He’s back!

Kurtley Beale vs Joaquin Tuculet
Both players step back into the starting line-up looking to once again cement themselves as the premier fullback for their respective countries. Beale was one of the bright spots of the Wallabies loss to the Springboks, looking like the Kurtley of old (aka Joeys Kurtley), setting up their second try of the match. However, he has struggled in the past with maintaining this level over 80 minutes, often showing a glimpse of promise before seemingly disappearing mid-match. He needs to step up and show he can take over a game for 80 minutes if he wishes to snatch the starting role from Tom Banks, who arguably didn’t do much wrong before he was replaced.

Tuculet made his return to the Pumas line-up via the interchange bench last week, having not featured since November 2017 against Ireland. Since his last start, times have changed with Emiliano Boffelli stepping up and making that fullback position his own. I think the influence of Boffelli on Argentina is highly under-rated, where he was one of their best throughout the Super Rugby season and in their loss last week. Tuculet needs to step up and command plenty of ball throughout the match and if he can find space early, it could be a long night for the Wallabies.

Numbers that matter (Thanks to Opta Sports)

89%:The Wallabies record against the Pumas, having won 12 out of their last 14 encounters
72.7%: The winning record of the Wallabies when they have played at Suncorp Stadium, winning their last 5 games.
13%: The record of the Pumas when they have played away in their last 15 games, having won just 2 matches
7: The average winning margin of the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in their last 6 matches.
September 8, 2018: The last time either team won an international match over a top 10 ranked team: Wallabies 23-18 over South Africa
24%: The combined international winning record of Australia and Argentina over the past 12 months.

Predictions

Despite their impressive performance against the All Blacks, I think that this will be the bounce-back game for the Wallabies. The absence of Boffelli and Creevy will be tough to replace for a Pumas side that won’t be lifted by their rabid fans like last week. The All Blacks found plenty of success through the middle of the park and I think the combination of Kerevi and Kuridrani will have a field day. The inclusion of Korobiete helps quell the pace issues that plagued the side last week, whilst the return of Lealiifano should provide enough motivation for the Wallabies to get the victory.

Match Prediction: Wallabies by 10
Bold Prediction: Kerevi and Kuridrani 2+ tries

Match Details

Wallabies (15-1): Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, Tevita Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Christian Lealiifano, Will Genia, Isi Naisarani, Michael Hooper (c), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio

Reserves: Tolu Latu, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Luke Jones, Nic White, Matt Toomua, James O’Connor

Pumas (15-1): Joaquin Tucelet, Santiago Cordero, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano, Nicolas Sanchez, Tomas Cubelli, Facundo Isa, Tomas Lezana, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavinini, Guido Petti, Juan Figallo, Julian Montoya, Nahuel Tatez Chaparro
Reserves: Santiago Socino, Mayco Vivas, Ramiro Herrera, Matias Alemanno, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Felipe Ezcurra, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Matias Orlando

Date: Saturday, July 27th
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 7:55pm AEDT
Where to Watch: Channel 10 on FTA and Fox Sports 6 (Channel 506) for Foxtel.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
AR1: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
AR2:Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO:Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

  • Tim

    I am unsure about this team it still needs work. One of the biggest problems we face is that we love to give the opposition nice quick fast ball. I would love for us to attack the breakdown more work as a 15 instead of waiting for Pocock to come back. 5 key things I am unsure about below.
    1) Why is kepu in the squad? The Tahs scrum was terrible and he had a terrible season in and out of injury. Tahs never dominated any opponent at scrum time and he will be an easy target if he makes the flight to japan.
    2) Lukhan Salakaia-Loto Is it just me or does he play just like a seconder rower? I understand injuries to Brumbies backrow but when they return he should return to second row.
    3)Kurtley Beale at fullback is an interesting decision. Every game KB has come off the bench he is amazing. Every game he starts he runs sideways. Team would be stronger with him off the bench.
    4)Tolu Latu and Rob Simmons both shouldn’t be near the match 23. Simmons offers nothing.
    5) Having O’connor and Toomau who are both play 12 overseas on our bench. How is cheika planning on using both of them? is he gonna sub Samu and Kuridrani off?
    6) far out gotta feel sorry for banks. He is a natural speedster and is good at tactically kicking. I wouldn’t have dropped him out of the squad maybe a shift to wing.

    I hope we can get the win but unsure how we will go

    • Gipetto

      Simmons is a Genius./ Did Quade mention gay marriage and Hell or something? Kuridrani should slot into 12 occasionally to share the crash- ball workload.

      • laurence king

        I think that the problem with Quade is not his defence (according to Cheika last weekends defensive effort was good) but rather that he tends to run his own show in that he plays what’s in front of him. For example, when a gap opens in front of him, he will,believe it not (1) see it, and (2) put a person through it.
        This is against Rasputin’s policy which is; all passes have to be telegraphed to the opposition defence, no forward is to run onto the ball, only Poey is alowed to contest the ruck (this rule is still in place), the 10 must stand as far back as possible and the ball must be passed backwards at least at a 45 degree angle. For this reason expect CLL to only play the one game at 10. Bastards are rarely loved despite being called ‘love children’.
        I’m hoping this side collectively decides to say, ‘screw Cheika’ and play to their ability and win well.

    • ozrugbynut

      Nice post. Same sentiments about LSL. Too many plodders in the back row for mine, want to see aggressive energetic impactful guys like Dempsey, Pocock, velntini, (when fit), sht even latu. Breakdown has to be a focus for our style of play.

    • Steve

      All good points Tim.

      1) I think the main reason is that there’s such a steep dropoff in quality after 7As. I had thought Tupou should be the no. 2 THP but he had a very inconsistent Super season and was pretty hit and miss in the scrums vs. the Boks. Kepu too was a liability whilst Slips was frikkin solid on the other side – But I’m not sure who else there is? At this point we could probably do worse than Ainsley.
      2) LSL is definitely too slow round the park for a 6. On form I would have liked to see Valetini given a run, but he was released back to club so perhaps he’s not there yet.
      3) & 6) It’s fucking embarrassing. The only decent part of last week’s starting back 3 and he gets yanked. For mine Beale’s starting position has always been as a roving winger, what’s wrong with 11) Beale, 15) Banks 14) Marika – Much better look than this one for mine.
      5) Guess JOC is going to revert to his old winger/fullback role. He looks to be carrying a fair amount more weight than last time he played for the WBs so would expect him to have lost a yard of pace (I know I do when I pack on a few)…in any case, keen to see how he plays!

      • Who?

        Ainsley? I can’t think of anyone worse… I’d have either of the Talakai brothers over him, Ruan Smith… But Tupou was strong when he came on, and when it was both Tupou and Uelese (the whole one scrum we got with both), that was the only dominant scrum we had all game. In spite of it being HJH on the other side (not a dig at him, but an acknowledgement that he was on debut, and isn’t known as a dominant scrummager, but rather as an excellent player around the field).

        • laurence king

          Tupou’s scrummaging has been a bit off this year, but he is clearly better than Kepu (who simply has not been at his best this year).

        • Who?

          Poor old Methuselah’s played far too many minutes this year, and then far too many minutes on the Veldt last weekend.
          .
          I’m not saying that Tupou’s been at his best, or that he wouldn’t benefit from better scrum coaching (I don’t think the Reds were well-coached at the scrum this year – not compared to the period 2016-18), but it’s arguable he outperformed Kepu last week, and you’d hope that the national scrum coaching setup would be of benefit to his form (hope, not expect)…

        • UTG

          Agree, poor old Ainsley was completely towelled in gold last year. Much prefer Keps, even if Gibson tried his best to run him into the ground.

        • Steve

          Tupou had his good scrums but his bad as well.

          Ainsley was more a point that it didn’t really matter who, I don’t think anyone is coming close to 7As.

          But since 7As, Sio, Slipper, Tupou and Kepu will be the WC props it’s all a moot point

        • Who?

          I agree 7A’s is head and shoulders ahead of the rest, you just happened to pick someone who Cheika selected far too green last year, and who wasn’t the best THP in his club this year. And said “we could probably do worse than Ainsley.” Where I think it’s quite arguable he was our poorest Super THP. So it distracted from your valid point about 7A’s being a clear #1 at #3.

        • Custard Taht

          It is hardly surprising 7A’s is so far ahead of the rest…..Triple A’s is often regarded as the gold standard rating, so if someone is 7A’s, the others don’t stand a chance.

        • Who?

          So that would mean the next best THP in Super Rugby would be his brother, 6A’s..? :-)

    • I’m prepared to give LSL another week – I know there are plenty of people saying there are plenty of better 6’s out there. I think the back row problems are more on the other side of the pack though. We’re missing a fetcher and that should be the 7’s role.

      I know they’re never going to pick someone to replace Hooper, but until they do the breakdown is going to be a mess.

      I am hopeful for Lilo, but if the game plan constrains him to pass it to Kerevi all the time and we don’t use Kurundrani, we’re in trouble. Los Pumas just key to him, tackle him, and unless there’s a smart play to take account of that – we didn’t see it in Ellis Park, the fact we ought to plough through their midfield with two big centres will just be snuffed out by hitting the only ball carrier and slowing the ball down in the ruck.

      Don’t understand where Banks has gone. Drop your good back three player. Great move. Not sure about the bench. There seem to be a lot of “samey” players there to me.

      Less happy than last week with this selection – I feel the hand of Cheika and “I don’t watch the matches” over it. He knows the Wallabies are better than Los Pumas, NEFool knows that. He just hasn’t actually watched last weekend’s match and seen what happened, nor what the Jaguares did to the Brumbies. So he’s experimenting a bit with off-selections. The ABs did that and nearly lost. The ABs second and third string players are a lot better than ours… B- for the selection. Hoping for a win, but I’m going to have a nice bottle of scotch my partner bought me for Christmas next to me.

      I’m planning to do scrum stats again. If it’s a bad match, it may take some time, or be drunk stats!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Where they play Toomua and JOC will be interesting I think. I agree 2 12’s on the bench seems a bit off

      • nmpcart

        I suspect that Toomua is the backup for CLL at 10. JOC will be the utility back who covers for wing, fullback and centres. If there were injuries and they kept CLL on then Toomua could cover the centres as well. I expect to see him give JOC quite a bit of time as they have gone to some effort to get him back so obviously have plans for him.

    • HK Red

      “ I would love for us to attack the breakdown more work as a 15 instead of waiting for Pocock to come back. “

      On this you are 100% correct. Our total lack of interest, lack of ability at the breakdown just kills us, and opposition teams know that we don’t focus on it. Have a look at the ABs in last weeks game, nearly every breakdown was contested, regardless what number the defending player had on his shirt. The whole team was capable or at least made the effort. I’ve mentioned this before, for a long time Aus players haven’t looked like they want to do the hard work at the breakdown, they want the ball just given to them. They appear to have no desire to actually possess that rugby ball and until they do, we’ll be second rate.

      • John Tynan

        Also, not atatcking a breakdown is just Unostrayan.

  • Huw Tindall

    Everything that needs to be said has been said on Thursday’s news comments really.
    – Good to see CLL get a chance but tweaking the backs won’t win the game
    – Starting pack lacks on ball presence still. Needed Valentini (Samu when fit) for a tough on ball 6 not LSL as a 3rd second rower.
    – Game plan needs to change to stop standing off rucks and get some of our big bodies counter rucking. Can’t give Argies quick ball with their passing game.
    – Beat the Pumas up the middle and only go wide from second phase if the defense of back pedalling and can’t blitz
    – Employ some kicks over the rush and pressure their relatively small wingers with cross field kicks.

    • Keith Butler

      I thought that Cheika would have made a couple of changes up front. Arnold went OK but Rodda seemed to me to be conspicuous by his absence. Wouldn’t have complained if Loto was moved to lock and either Valentini or Jones brought in at 7.

      • Huw Tindall

        Yeah I wouldn’t have minded that either KB. Rodda a bit quiet but had a great Super season so deserves a second shot. Other than props coming back from injury the only change I was looking for was at 6. Valentini my choice but would roll with Jones or Dempsey as well. Pete Samu if fit (he is coming back via Club rugby this weekend so could get a look at him for the Perth Bled).

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,
    I think the determining factor is the loss of Creevy and no home crowd and that this may push a win as a step too far. Agree 100% on Hooper needing to step up and play the 7 role. Neither the 6 or 7 can, not should, do this. I don’t think the role Hooper has defined for himself is working and the Wallabies need that 7 role at the rucks and mauls if they want to win.
    Looking forward to seeing CLL play and hoping he goes well. It’ll be interesting to see how the backline is juggled with JOC. I hope he comes in at 12 as that’s where he’s been playing well overseas. I think coming in at Wing or 15 will be the wrong move.
    Forwards need to step up this week, I thought they were poor against the Boks and if they don’t then I think they’ll give the game to the Argies.
    Hoping it’s a win to the Wallabies by at least 10

    • Hoss

      Morning mate,
      You already in the land of the long white cloud? Reckon Rassie has an ambush waiting for your lot and wouldn’t surprise to see a 2-3 point Saffa win.

      Just touched down in Brisvegas. Had the pre-requisite cavity exam upon arrival, it costs me more but it’s the little things that count. Sun is shinning, blue skies and the whiff of Wallaby success lingering in the morning air.

      It’s on.

      • Keith Butler

        I’m leaving on a biplane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.

        • Yowie

          Do they segregate a whole commercial airliner according to that sort of proclivity?

        • John Tynan

          I was going to ask if they still banned that down there.

        • Yowie

          I think any funny business has to stop as the arriving aircraft crosses the State border.
          A bit like service of alcohol on the aircraft can be affected by local laws.

        • Keith Butler

          To be totally inclusive in accordance with the Code of conduct, I was leaving on a LBGTQI plane.

        • Yowie

          What have you got against Pansexual people you horrible biggot!?
          The accepted acronym changed to LBGTQIP while the plane was airborne.

        • Who?

          What about Asexual people..? LGBTIPA+ with the ‘Plus’ covering anything else..?

        • Yowie

          Hmm. According to Google: “asexual individuals may still experience attraction but this attraction doesn’t need to be realized in any sexual manner”
          You leave my wife out of this!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        It’s bloody cold here. I think my blood’s thinned down a bit since I’ve been in Aus.
        I think for the ABs it’s all about the combos and the score is almost irrelevant. Almost!
        It’s going to be a cracker of a game and I’m looking forward to it.
        Not sure yours will be so much of an ambush but if players don’t step up you could be in a world of hurt

      • John Tynan

        Early start at Gresham Hoss/KB?
        I have to leave CBD about 6pm, get the Tiger Balm going for a veterans game this evening, and unfortunately not going to Wobs game Sat night.

        • Hoss

          Open to offers JT ?

        • John Tynan

          New employee on-boarding beers starting for me from 4:00pm, will be in the vicinity until 6-ish

        • Hoss

          Perfect. See you there.

        • Hoss

          U on deck JT. I am ensconced at the Caxton street end of the bar and batting at about 120, seeing them well too.

        • John Tynan

          Sorry, delayed at another bar. Heading now. 5:30

        • Huw Tindall

          Will any of the new employees turn up on Monday if they meet Hoss?

        • John Tynan

          I had to grudgingly leave, with half a skinful, didn’t think I should expose the poor young bloke…

        • Huw Tindall

          Best to avoid an HR incident first week

        • John Tynan

          Sentiments to live by.
          Met up with the crew, was loathe to leave a good bunch, but a game calls. Safe to say, I am quite looooooose already and the usual Guinness warm up will be passed over tonight.

        • Hoss

          We couldn’t bare to see you turn up without sufficient pre-game lubrication. Hope our contribution aided in stirring win for the ages.

        • John Tynan

          As always, a draw and rugby is the winner. About halfway through the game it wasn’t seeming like a great preparation routine….

        • Brisneyland Local

          Good to meet you JT. I thought some of Hoss’s inspirational saying could have been used to gee your team up! ;-)

        • Hoss

          First life lesson free, charges after that.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Good morning GAGR’s. Have surafaced from an evening out of the twon with Hoss, KB, Mrs BL, and for a little while John T. A fabulous evening of food, drinks, discussions about rugby and life. And not once did we launch into a tirade about Cheika the ass clown. amazing.
    Onto important things. The Game tonight. If any one is at Lang Park we will be at the Bar at the stadium inside the gate C entrance with the big screen. We will watch the DDF vs AB’s first then. onto the main event. Come and join us.
    – I think the Wallabies will be beaten at the breakdown.
    – The Fism’s have some real mo coming into this game.
    – I think the Wobs are a little psychologically scarred and this will start to show if they getoff to a bad start.
    In the end I think it will be close. But I think the Argies will win by 5-7.

    • Keith Butler

      Hoss is getting his yearly dose of culture at the Art Museum and i’m getting my dose of Sudafed. We’ll be heading for a late lunch and then off to Suncorp for the evenings entertainment. See you there.

      • Hoss

        ‘You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.‘

      • Brisneyland Local

        Ack wilco.

  • laurence king

    Yippee, we WON! LOL,LOL,LOL, yippee

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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