Wallabies versus Argentina Los Pumas match review

Wallabies pounce and then hold out Los Pumas

Photo by Tom Offer
Wallabies pounce and then hold out Los Pumas

Another week and another win for the Wallabies, this time over Los Pumas. This is just getting so repetitive. Enough of this gloating though – how did this next notch on the Wallabies bed head unfurl?

The Vibe

It took just twelve minutes for the Wallabies to be three tries and 21 points up. You heard me, 21 in 12.

The first try in the first minute, used a skill we didn’t know the Wallabies had – straight forward draw and pass. On attack in Argentina’s half, it was Folau to Haylett-Petty to Hooper (a gorgeous dummy to draw the winger) and then Kerevi bounded his way over to dot down. All done at pace, on the advantage line and within the 15 metre channel. Forensics have identified Mick Byrnes’ fingerprints all over it.

The second try was the sort of set piece gold that showed just what damage the lack of line-out has inflicted on the Wallabies. A clean take at the back by Coleman delivered off the top to Pocock who wrapped around to Genia at pace meant the world was the Australia backline’s oyster. And slurp that salty sea mollusc they did. Kerevi held the inside defence with a dummy cut-back, making space for Quade Cooper to put Haylett-Petty into a good sized hole with a no-look inside pass. DHP finished it off with a step at pace and a meat pie beside the sticks.

Try three was a Genia something-from-nothing special. From a Puma lineout on their 10 metre line, his tackle disrupts the fly-halve’s pass and the ball squirts backwards. Sanchez then hacks the ball on, it sits up nicely before the line and boom. It’s a try that even the TMO couldn’t disallow.

The next 28 minutes of the first half could be summarised by these stats:

  • The Wallabies had just 27% possession
  • Australia had to make 94 tackles to the Pumas 28
  • Australia were penalised 11 times, Argentina twice
  • Scott Sio was yellow carded for a team repeated infringement in the 33rd minute
  • The Wallabies yielded just six points

On the one hand this didn’t make for spectacular viewing, especially the inability to kick for any territorial gain.

On the other hand, it was probably the best defensive effort from the Wallabies since the World Cup and players like Coleman, Hodge and Pocock put in a mountain of work in defence, the rookies being especially effective and hard hitting.

Second Half

Having defended so well for 40 minutes, the Wallabies then yielded a try within three minutes of the second half. From a scrum within the Pumas half, first a miss by Foley, and then poor choice by Kerevi put Cordero over.

For the next five minutes chip kicks from Hodge and Genia seemed to be heading the Wallabies into a well-known attacking cul-de-sac, but then more lineout ball at the right end of the field gave McMahon (on for the injured Pocock from half time) the chance to barnstorm his way to within inches of the line. Genia dummies from the base of that ruck and is over for his second.

Sixty three minutes in and the finishers make an impact – Tatafu Polota-Nau takes an intercept in the tight-loose and then trucks it up 20 metres with tacklers hanging off him. A few phases later and another no-look inside pass from Cooper at the line gives Michael Hooper a twenty metre clear run to the line. It’s 33-13 and the game is all but over.

But, instead of Bernard Foley picking off an intercept and scoring the Wallabies’ sixth, we’re reminded of what comes with those stunning inside passes – a late shoulder charge on a man without the ball earning Quade Cooper a yellow card. Question – how many other international 10’s have earned as many yellow cards as Quade Cooper?

As a result the momentum shifts and in the 71st minute Fecundo Issa (a great young player but with a name that’s on the nose) muscles his way over to make it 33-20.

Hodge knocks over a long range penalty and the match fizzles to a close, but not before the referee Barnes has completely contradicted earlier penalty decisions against the Wallabies at the breakdown.  The lack of consistency between referees, and even within the same match is astounding.

Final Score 36-20


The game changer

More of a game ender than a changer, was Genia’s first try of the night and Australia’s third within twelve minutes. Game over.

The GAGR Man of the Match

Even the official MoTM got it right this week, Will Genia was back in his best ever form. Two tries, running, passing, kicking, tackling. He was everywhere.

Photo by Tom Offer

Photo by Tom Offer

Player Watch

Despite the Cheika selection merry-g0-round, surely Reece Hodge and Adam Coleman have booked themselves jerseys for the rest of the tournament. Pocock’s busted hand looks to have opened the door for Sean McMahon, who took his opportunity well.


Australia 36 (Will Genia 2, Samu Kerevi, Dane Haylett-Petty, Michael Hooper tries; Bernard Foley 4 cons; Reece Hodge pen) defeated Argentina 20 (Santiago Cordero, Facundo Isa tries; Nicolas Sanchez 2 cons; 2 pens)

  • dean

    nice work matt :) been hanging out for the match review all day

  • LoveThePoop

    Great to see the boys go back to back!! Still a lot of improvement in them but the glimpses of brilliances are enough to get excited about… Hopefully we can peak against England to win the grand slam and get some revenge with a 100-nil win… hope thats not asking to much?

    • onlinesideline

      Will be the 5th match on tour at end of LONG season.
      Will require massive effort.

  • Nick Gregory

    Would like to know how many tackles Coleman made. He was bloody everywhere! Genia back to his best, and Sanchez (Argentinian Sanchez) needs to cop a life ban for tainting the sport with his repeated dives.

    • onlinesideline

      I agree, we should do a Sanchez dive gif compillation – what is it wth latin blokes. The French do the same. Dont they have any freakn shame ? Quades tackles did include arms in my book….cant see what the TMO was talking about.

      • jamie

        It wasn’t even a tackle IMO, just a collision.

        • Parker

          That yellow card was a travesty. The ref’s pronouncement of no arms was in direct contradiction to the video replay.

        • hasto

          the yellow really pi**ed me off. he clearly pulled out of the tackle and then had to brace for impact. yes he collided with his shoulder, but he was protection himself not intending harm. Slow-Mo really didn’t help him. it was a yellow because it was quade

      • Seb V

        It’s cos both those countries are soccer crazy.

    • Working Class Rugger

      I honestly think it World Rugby should pass down the edict that players caught diving should receive a straight red for their efforts. Hate seeing it in the game.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Don’t mention the Falklands!

      • Who?

        I thought Barnes might’ve had some unwarranted guilt about it given the way he reffed last night… I like Barnes’ style a lot, really appreciated the request for clear separation before the scrum ‘set’, but he only reffed one team much of the game.

        • Brisneyland Local

          As I said in my post;
          “Barnes is a knob of the ocean going variety!”

        • Who?

          See, I disagree with that… I think he’s a decent bloke, and I do like the fact that he’s very clear with the players. We just managed to end up on the wrong side of him last night. But even then, he was very good with his communication with Squeaky and Hooper. Compare the way he spoke with them to the way that the last two refs spoke with them.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Any referump who lets players blatantly “dive” is not a good referump!
          But I do agree he was a good communicator last night, there is no way any player couldn’t say they didn’t know what was or wasn’t happening!

        • First time long time

          I’m with you, in general I think he is a fantastic ref and usually makes for a free flowing spectacle.

  • Geoffwho

    Thank goodness! Now that we are finally winning games again, can we just get back to debating how Quade’s a tool!

    • onlinesideline

      Not sure if ur being sarcastic or not – but while we are on Quade, I think the dude is sublime … absolutely sublime. There has been no one even close to QC in being able to spark the aussie backline since the Ella bothers and they would all be first to say QC has more skill.

      Again when QC plays, we usually win and it doesnt surprise me.

      (ps – have absolutely no problem with blokes style whatsoever – seems like a good bloke to me)

      If we just had Beale in there to link with Izzy. Speaking of Izzy, I think from an attacking point of view he is suited to 13. If defussing bombs at full back is all he there for ….pffff.. its important but hes replaceable. Most good full backs are pretty good at this. But he CANNOT kick so for me it means hands down he cant play at 15 – its a massive part of modern game for a FB.

      What is he good at ? – to me, from what I have seen – its his League skills and that is sliding past players, bumping them off at close quarters within opposition 22. Thats where he does so much damage. Will putting him at 13 exploit that ? Dont know. After last nights match, can we say we really spend much time in opposition 22 in most games ? Not really.

      Why do we always get less possession and less territory than other teams ?

      Anyway, Im ranting in cafe in Budapest on a Sunday morning as I gaze out window at one georgeous Hungarian girl after another.

      PS – what about Hodge at 15 – hoofing it downtown all day ??

      PPS – maybe my imagination but like other ppl have said, since Mick Byrnes has been involved, the forwards look smarter individually.

      Green and Gold forever !

      • Brisneyland Local

        Stop gloating by the way!

      • idiot savant

        Your question about why we get less possession is a good one. Against the Pumas it was a combination of penalties against us, an indecisive scrum, pushed passes, and a continuation of the referees crackdown on pilfering.

        Call me paranoid but following our win against the ABs last year and the RWC, Pocock and Fardy seem to be wearing targets on their back at the breakdown. Cheika might think its smart not to have a coffee with referees but if Pocock’s pilfering didnt come up as a topic when Hansen had a flat white with them then I’m a monkeys uncle.

        • onlinesideline

          Kicking the ball away again just after we defend 17 phases may have something to do with it as well – how many times did we do that sat night ?

        • Dave

          Like a banana?

        • Idiot savant

          I’m surprised you left me any

      • Parker

        I like your backline selection very much. Would love to see it in action. But I must ask, what about admiring Hungarian women made you think of Reece Hodge? Bewildering association.

        • onlinesideline

          hoofing it downtown I think.

      • maka

        “There has been no one even close to QC in being able to spark the aussie backline since the Ella bothers and they would all be first to say QC has more skill.”

        I think the current Wallaby assistant coach may have something to say about that….

    • Firing the backup servers

      • onlinesideline

        Extra RAM needed ?

    • Brisneyland Local

      Quade’s not a tool, he was just showing up those acting soccer loving Argi divers! Point proven!

  • Wobblies

    This is the end of rugby union in australia. Boring stuff might aswell close this website down while you still have your dignity

    • Pedro

      Wow. You think we have dignity. *tip of the hat*

      • Brisneyland Local

        Good use of the saying Pedro, love your work!
        I sold my dignity decades ago!

  • mikado

    Great game for Hooper – lucky the frantic calls to drop him were not heeded. Good game for Hodge but I don’t think he’s a starter if others are fit.

    • jamie

      Can’t agree. Hodge ran our defence in the backline. Halted their momentum Many a time, and his touchfinders automatically make him more important than foley IMO. Hodge to 12 next week. Naivalu wing.

      • First time long time

        Yes and yes please!

      • Parker

        Tru dat, except Speight before Naivalu.

        • jamie

          Naivalu is younger and speight has never impressed me internationally. Hopefully we end up with both of them on our wings.

          That 10.5 second 100m from Naivalu is so, so tempting, considering no one else has any serious jets. Would probably be faster than B Barrett.

        • Seb V

          10.5 sec. I’m sold. Get him in!!!!

    • First time long time

      I stalked him all game and was astonished at how ineffective so much of his efforts were. Don’t get me wrong the guy has a lot to offer the team but I think it is misdirected at the moment.
      At the end of the first half while Pocock was figuratively busting his hump and literally busting his hand, Hooper was doing sweet FA except running from beside one ruck to beside the next.
      I know this will be unpopular with many but he did nothing to sway me from my opinion that he should be on the bench

      • ForceFan

        Totally agree with your comments re Pocock.
        Have watched the game closely while collecting my normal ruck stats.
        Pocock started feeling and flexing his left hand just prior to a scrum at 10 mins.
        At that stage he had made 2 Ruck Involvements and Hooper had 3.
        By 15 minutes Pocock was going into the breakdown with his R hand only and tackling with his left was causing him heaps of grief.
        He couldn’t get the hand looked at by Doc as in two stoppages the Doc was looking after Hooper & Coleman.

        By 30 mins Pocock had made 16 Ruck Involvements (5A/11D) and Hooper had made 8 RIs (2A/6D).
        So Pocock with a broken hand had 14 RIs in the same time as Hooper had 5RIs.

        Pocock came off at 35 minutes with 19 RIs (6A/13D); didn’t have any TOW (but a bit hard with only 1 hand) and still made 12 tackles (none missed).
        Pocock finished 2nd top in RIs for the Wallabies – only 4 behind Hooper who played for 81 minutes (24RIs [11A/12D] & 20 Tackles/4 missed; 2TOW).
        Wallabies will greatly miss David Pocock’s defensive efforts

      • Hooper topped the Wallaby tackle count and led the defensive line-speed, hit more rucks than anyone else, was instrumental in one try and scored another.

        Perhaps you were watching the AFL?

        • first time long time

          Watch him more closely and you will see what I’m talking about, or perhaps you won’t, but great burn with the AFL dig.
          Try and make your point without pretending someone is an idiot for Having a different perspective on the game.
          I know all those stats and they are not in dispute however, a lot of his involvements were completely ineffectual.
          If you don’t agree that’s OK, Cheika doesn’t either.

        • 30 mm tags

          Matt, I’d prefer your reply disputes the specific statistics rather than a totally unnecessary put down. Surely the purpose of the site is to encourage meaningful comment. Rugby needs people who analyse.

        • first time long time

          Reposting this just for you Matt.
          Ok so this is nothing to do with Tuesday’s news but as there have been plenty of remarks over the last few days suggesting that anyone critiquing Hooper, in any way negatively, is either a hater or watching another game.

          I have re watched up until Pocock leaving the field purely with eyes for those two as a comparison. I have been as objective as my eyes and small brain allowed.

          There are some discrepancies with Force Fan I would say not statistically significant, and some possibly definition related.

          I have tried to characterise ruck and maul involvements;

          Effective = quick attacking ball, generated forward momentum, slowed opposition ball, turn over.

          Ineffective = none of the above

          Equivocal = eg stabilised breakdown, directed ball at back but no real impact.


          Runs = 2

          Tackles (includes secondary involvement) = 17 / 0 missed

          Ruck and maul

          equivocal = 8

          Ineffective = 3

          Effective = 12 (both he and Hooper generated a t/o from a maul)

          Also possibly gave away 1 penalty at breakdown but couldn’t quite determine what Barnes called it for .

          Other = played 20 min with a broken hand


          Runs = 1 nice interplay with backs and final pass for first try

          Tackles (includes secondary involvement) = 12 / 4 missed

          Ruck and maul

          Equivocal = 3

          Ineffective = 8 including conceding 1 penalty

          Effective = 3 again both generated 1 t/o from a maul and Hooper is credited with another t/o after the ball dribbled out at his feet due to a dominant Pocock tackle (not a genuine pilfer, but he was there)


          1 charge down.

          If I counted the number of R&M that Hoper just stood beside, there would be another dozen or more.

          That’s my take on it and I think this shows much more than the basic stats.

  • George

    Hooper awesome as usual, game high 20 tackles, destroyed the puma back line passing game with his rush defence, 2 line breaks, beautiful try assist, scored a 5 pointer of his own and won 2 turnovers.

    • Pclifto

      Gorgeous dummy work to put Kerevi away

    • SD

      Just wait til the haters come and tell you how hopeless he was.

      It must be sad to miss out on the enjoyment of watching someone like Hooper play because you’re so intent on hating him.

  • Sloshed

    > Forensics have identified Mick Byrnes’ fingerprints all over it.


    Can I put in a word in for the commentary team of Gordon Bray and Matt Burke, a topic sadly neglected in the G&GR review.

    We must thank Mr Burke for his continued use of his pet phrase “what [insert name here] need to do now is…” . I had my whisky at the ready for a shot each time I heard it and had to go back to the bottle more than once. I was well over the line by the end of the game. Great game!

    But I never caught up with Gordon Bray, who must have had a real head start on me. What did he mean by “submarines” instead of “subway” sandwiches? And the name “Willins” instead of “Wilson” for a well-respected man who had passed away earlier in the week?

    In this game he moved from silliness and non-sequiturs into embarrassment and, if I was a member of the late Mr Wilson’s family, rudeness.

    Can we yank the commentators when they are under-performing? After all, they get paid more than some of the players.

    • dane

      Brays remark about stuart barnes still trying to get on to NZers xmas card list was gold enough to make up for any other shortcomings

      • Tim

        Who is Stuart Barnes?

        • dane

          Whoops. LOL. stuart barnes is ex England rep and commentator

    • Seb V

      Still better then Marto.

  • Pedro

    Great review Matt.

    Wallabies were better organised in defense yet not as disciplined.

    Hardest thing to watch was the effort pocock put in for little reward. Hope he has a good rest and the injury heals well.

    Easiest thing to watch was Haylett-Petty’s try, set piece moves are always memorable.

    • onlinesideline

      Was it Robbie Deans who said set piece plays are thing of the past ? Not Sure.

      But if its in anyones DNA its in ours.

      • Pedro

        I don’t know who that is.

        • onlinesideline

          who ? – Robbie Deans ?

        • Pedro

          Drawing a blank.

        • jamie

          What’s a Robbie Deans?

  • Kev

    Good win but still a lot to be displeased with. The lack of possession was most concerning.

    • jamie

      I don’t think it was. We kicked and defended well.

  • onlinesideline

    Where the hell is Toomua BTW- still concussed ?

    • jamie

      Yes. He’s out of TRC.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Matt, great write and like the others I have been hanging all day for this. To unleash my irreverent humour, acerbic wit, and constant spelling mistakes. Whilst a very entertaining match to watch, there were again some points of great concern.
    BL’s points for the match:
    – How good was Willy G! (He da man!)
    – Wayne Barnes is a knob of ocean going variety. (Good that we are winning so we can complain legitimately about the Referump with out sounding like poor losers).
    – Scrum was definitely a tale of two halves.
    – Sean McMahon has to have earnt himself a starting slot.
    – Absolute travesty for Pocock.
    – Despite what is written here I thought Quade had a really good match. The yellow was warranted, but the Argie should have got one too for emulating a soccer player and diving like a total woos bag! embarrassing. Wasn’t the only case of an Argie diving throughout the evening. Too much watching shit ball for my liking!
    – The line out worked again.
    – Foley’s kicking was again suspect, I not sure why they are persevering.
    – Rob Simmons was better, but still needs to improve.
    – Our defence was better, but still we slipped a few tackles.
    But an improvement overall. We still would have gotten flogged if it was the ‘Darkness’!

    • Moose

      Agree with most everything. Defence was immense for a good part of the first half but petered out after that.
      ‘… a knob of ocean going variety’, haha.
      Genia has been awesome. I mean no disrespect to Matt Giteau, but can ‘Giteau’s law’ be redubbed ‘Genia’s law’. Whether it’s a good long term policy or not (and personally I don’t think it is) he’s shown that there’s short term value in it, far more than any other player who’s been called back from Europe.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Even if Giteau’s purpose was to ensure that Genia could come back then he has served his purpose!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Totally agree about the diving. Its a blight on the game. In saying that I think if I was refereeing I would have given a yellow as well. It was a no arms shoulder charge that hit him in the head, careless rather than anything else but a hit to the head is a yellow threshold.
      Genia was awesome, best game since forever.

  • Seb V

    Genia’s box kicks even looked pretty good too.

  • markpa

    Not one to normally defend Quade, but only reason it looks like a no arms tackle was that he was trying to pull out of it and had turned away.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Markpa, I agree. Plus the Argie knobber took a dive straight after it!

  • markpa

    Why do they keep going back to Simmons & Mumm. They’re not going to get better, there’s always the dumb penalties, easy turnovers etc.
    we need to give Coleman, McMahon, Timani, ….time to belong and the chance to be world class which the above won’t be.

    • Who?

      How many dumb penalties and easy turnovers did they give up last night..? I think Mumm gave away one penalty, can’t remember Simmons giving one away..?

      • RedAnt

        Mumm had at least two loose carries…

  • Bay35Pablo

    Slurp the salty sea mollusc. One of your best ever Matt. There’s a G&GR T Shirt line in that I reckon. Time to Google photos of Genia sucking down a dozen Sydney rock, run it through a filter a few times, and pop it on the front of 200 gold T Shirts ….

  • The Big Lebowski

    If you are ecstatic about the result on Saturday, imagine what it will be like when Cheika puts a team on that are either in their best position or not past their best?

    I would be barred up if this was the team

    1. Robertson
    2. Anyone by Moore
    3. Kepu
    4. Coleman
    5. Arnold
    6. Timani (gets the nod over McMahon due to size)
    7. Hooper
    8. Holloway (injuries notwithstanding)
    9. Genia (I thought Phipps was OK until this TRC).
    10. Foley (Quade’s defence is atrocious)
    12. Hodge
    13. Folau
    15. DHP

    I’ve left the wings vacant because I can’t even think of a strong finishing winger in Australian rugby that deserves a chance. Spiro Zavos wants Folau to play on the wing, and that’s the only flexibility I can find, with Kerevi coming in to 12 and Hodge going to 13. But I’d prefer Izzy midfield, as he knows how to find the line and beat tacklers at close quarters.

    I think it was Rod Kafer who mentioned that all he saw from QC was the back of his jersey, that is, he was running sideways all night. He is still the least prepared player for a Test rugby backline.

    • Willem Labuschagne

      Mate, if you couldn’t see how important Cooper was for the Wallabies attack then you don’t really understand the game. He does some silly things from time to time, but he keeps the defence guessing and opens holes for the likes of DHP and Hooper, as in the tries they scored on Saturday.


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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