After the South Africa v New Zealand match this morning, the Wallabies can finish second in the Championship by posting a win. And if that doesn’t totally reflect the state of Australian rugby (wing and a prayer friends, wing and a prayer) then I don’t know what does. Actually, scratch that, I do know – the Australians are fielding the same starting line up for the first time in three years. Whoop.
The Wallabies struggled to make any in roads in the early phases of the match, with our scrum being worriedly punished by Los Pumas and our mauls not having any mongrel. Passes were forward, balls were dropped and we didn’t look particularly
In spite of that, with 70% possession in the first 15 minutes and no closer to a try, Michael Hooper elected to take the points for a penalty and Bernard Foley kicked his 19th consecutive goal.
19 and done.
And then wouldn’t you believe it, Foley misses the next penalty to end his consecutive run. Ruh-oh.
The Wallabies didn’t let this phase them as they capitalised on the restart with Dempsey showing real go forward again to get over the advantage line and then Genia, Beale, Foley, McMahon contributed quick ball to Marika Koroibete who crossed for his 3rd try in 2 matches, showing masterful balance along the sideline.
Los Pumas aimed to return fire quickly with brilliant sustained pressure inside the 5m from a collapsed maul and their massive lock Matías Alemanno scored against the posts. Sanchez converted and then successfully kicked a penalty to put the hosts in front.
Points left out there.
30 minutes in, twice the Wallabies have turned down points now, and missed a conversion and a penalty – a potential 11 points missing from the match already with Los Pumas really taking it to us. Those 11 points and our missed tackles may yet make this a dangerous match for us.
Will Genia and Reece Hodge combined for a lovely try out wide, but the advantage was voided soon after with a missed conversion and a successful penalty kick to Los Pumas – locked up in the shadow of half time.
The Wallabies dodged a bullet because an absolutely brilliant Los Pumas try was disallowed because of a knock on – kind of a shame really, it was off a beautiful break by Sanchez who easily evaded our tacklers.
So, let’s talk about our tacklers.
The second half started in the same manner as the first half, with Foley missing a penalty. But then he scored a try. One step forward, one step backward.
Los Pumas didn’t waste much time leveling the score with a lovely little try to Gonzalez Iglesias off some great work by Sanchez.
In what appeared to be the continuing game of sharesies (they score, we score, they score, we score), Reece Hodge set up Will Genia for a try. And the Argentinians dodged another yellow.
The elephant in the room.
I am not into blaming the referee because I am of the view that you should be good enough to not let rubbish be the deciding factor, however there is clearly some poor quality refereeing happening here – there should have been two, possibly three, cards in the match.
And freaking Jaco Peyper trying to card the Wallabies as an AR around a legal (and unfortunate) tackle from Marika Koroibete. Peyper should have been put back in his box immediately.
Hodge scored the final try of the match, and his double, set up by Samu Kerevi who showed his class by holding on, drawing two defenders and then passing a split second before his foot hit the chalk. Foley converted to take his success rate for the match over 50%.
So the Wallabies finish the Championship second on the table after two wins and two draws. And apparently because we finished more than 16 points ahead of Argentina we move to 3rd in the world.
I want more.
And truly I know I should be pleased, but I grew up in an era when we could take it more convincingly to opposition teams.
I grew up in an era when I felt we had depth on the field and depth off the field.
I grew up in an era when we weren’t constantly blooding new players on a wing and a prayer.
I am cool with refreshing the team when the old guard are done, but I feel like a constant refresh isn’t a strategy or even a tactic, it is hunting in the dark.
I want to believe we are capable of great wins and gutsy losses.
Hopefully Cheika sticks with the young players he is blooding now – lots of potential, they just need experience. I want to be watching Rodda and Dempsey playing in 5 years.
Bring on the ABs in Brisbane.
The Game Changer
The lack of recognition of ill-discipline meant that the momentum switched more frequently than one would expect if it had been held in check. Translation. Los Pumas got away with a lot that should have been carded.
The G&GR MOTM
Reece Hodge with two tries and setting up Genia’s was a class performance and I still feel he has lots more to add to his game.
Jack Dempsey was much more impactful this match in attack – making it over the advantage line convincingly, running good lines. Still needs to work on his defense, but progressing well.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Gonzalez Iglesias, Alemanno
Conversions: Sanchez 2
Penalties: Sanchez 2
Tries: Hodge 2, Genia, Foley, Koroibete
Conversions: Foley 3
Penalties: Foley 2
Cards & citings
Yellow: Marcos Kremer