Preview: Wallabies v Pumas - Green and Gold Rugby

Preview: Wallabies v Pumas

Preview: Wallabies v Pumas

The Rugby Championship has provided a tight contest between South Africa, Australia and Argentina with these teams having 2 wins, 2 wins and 1 win respectively during the tournament. If the Wallabies defeat the Pumas and South Africa lose to the All Blacks the Wallabies would jump into second spot on the ladder. However, if the Pumas were to win with a bonus point they would leapfrog the Wallabies who would then drop to the bottom of the ladder.


The Wallabies – The Wallabies’ Rugby Championship campaign kicked off with consecutive losses to the All Blacks by 34 points and 20 points respectively. The Wallabies were able to come from behind to defeat South Africa by 6 points and then had a home win v the Pumas by 16 points after a strong start. Last week’s trip to Loftus Versfeld resulted in an 8 point loss to Springboks despite the Wallabies scoring one try to nil.

The Pumas –had two close matches against South Africa with a 7 point loss in the Republic and a 2 point win at home. This was followed up by away loses to the All Blacks by 35 points and to the Wallabies by 16 points. The Pumas got within 19 points of the All Blacks last week but this scoreline flattered the Pumas after the All Blacks led 36-3.


Michael Cheika has had to name his third different number 8 in as many matches after losing David Pocock and Sean McMahon to injury in consecutive matches. McMahon has been replaced by his Melbourne Rebels teammate and wrecking ball Lopeti Timani. Timani will playing just his second test and making his run on debut. Cheika sent an SOS to Leroy Houston who has been on loan to Bath. Houston has been named on an extended bench and is a chance to make his debut and become Wallaby number 901.

Rob Simmons has been axed from the match day squad for the third time in 2016. Rory Arnold has replaced Simmons in the starting lineup. It will be the 7th lock combination used by the Wallabies this year so Cheika definitely doesn’t have the key to that lock.

For the Pumas Leonardo Senatore replaces first-choice number eight Facundo Isa, who hasn’t recovered in time from a leg injury sustained against the All Blacks in Buenos Aires. In the only other change to the pack, Lucas Noguera takes over from Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro at loosehead prop.

In the back-line, Matías Moroni comes in for Santiago Cordero on the right wing and Manuel Montero replaces Ramiro Moyano in the number 11 jersey. Montero and fly-half Nicolás Sánchez will both face late fitness Tests before the match and may yet be replaced.


Halves Will Genia & Quade Cooper v Nicolas Sanchez & Martin Landajo: Both combinations has spent plenty of time together with Genia and Cooper being old teammates at the Reds and Sanchez and Landajo honing their combination at Los Jaguares all year. Both combinations have creativity and brilliance but sometimes with creativity and brilliance the rewards can increase but so can the risks.

Number Eights Lopeti Timani v Leonardo Senatore: Timani will start for the first time for the Wallabies while Leonardo Senatore hasn’t started for the Pumas this year being behind Facundo Isa in the pecking order.  Both players will have something to prove. Cheika will be expecting hard running and hard tackling from Timani, which is what he does for the Rebels, and trust that the big fellow can pick the ball up from the scrum cleanly. Senatore had a good season for Los Jaguares but the Pumas will miss the injured Isa who in the previous 5 games has made 361 metres, 8 offloads, 8 clean breaks and beaten 19 defenders. Senatore definitely has big shoes to fill.

Running the ball: Three Pumas forwards have run the ball 50 or more times during the tournament Isa 85, Matera 57, Creevy 50. So expect more hard running from these players. No Aussie forward can match that and Folau just squeaks in at 50.

Missed tackles: The three players in the competition with the most missed tackles are Bernard Foley 14, Dane Haylett-Petty 13 and Dean Mumm 11. So expect the hard running Argentines to be running plenty of traffic in the direction of these players.

Photo by Tom Offer

Photo by Tom Offer


The Wallabies flew out of the blocks in Perth with tries to Kerevi, Haylett-Petty and Genia to take a 21-nil lead after 12 minutes.

Los Pumas threw everything at the Wallabies after that and on a couple of instances looked like getting back in the contest but the damage had been done and the Wallabies were able to take out the match by 16 points.


As no team other than the undefeated All Blacks has won away from home the Pumas would normally be favourites for this match. However, this match is being played at the “neutral” venue Twickenham. So there will be plenty of gold in the crowd with all the Aussie expats in London but any local fans will be supporting the Pumas.

One of these teams will be the first, other than the All Blacks, to win a match outside their home country during the 2016 Rugby Championship (unless they have a draw).

Argentina are aiming for the second win of the tournament which would be the first time they have had won twice in the same Rugby Championship.

From reading my tea leaves (not that I actually drink tea), I can see a Wallabies side that is ripe for the picking.

As a consequence my tip is: Los Pumas by 5 points.


Wallabies: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11Reece Hodge, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore C, 1 Scott Sio
Bench (one to be omitted): James Hanson, Tom Robertson, Allan Alaalatoa, Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy, Leroy Houston, Nick Phipps, Tevita Kuridrani, Sefanaia Naivalu

Pumas (To be confirmed pending late fitness tests for Montero and Sanchez): 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Moroni, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Lucas Noguera
Bench: Julian Montoya, Santiago García Botta, Enrique Pieretto, Marcos Kremer, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Tomás Cubelli, Jerónimo De la Fuente/Gabriel Ascarate, Ramiro Moyano/Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino

Match Argentina v Australia @ Twickenham, London
Date Saturday 8 October 2016Kick-Off 19:30 local; 18:30 GMT, 20:30 SAST, (*05:30 AEST, 07:30 NZST)
Referee Mathieu Raynal
AR1 JP Doyle
AR2 Matthew Carley
TMO Rowan Kitt

* Due to time difference – Kick-off Sunday 9 October

  • Will

    Dean Mumm 11 missed tackles!! What does this guy have to do to get dropped!!

    • John Tynan

      Foley you expect because teams are trying to truck it at a small man and (relatively) poor defender, DHP is a surprise but more a result of the defensive “system” at the start of the year I think. But when your blindside flanker is almost leading the missed tackles, it’s criminal.

      • Simon

        Also DHP playing out of position I think – wing seems to be a specialised place to defend (knowing when to come in, when to stay and drift, etc) and I think DHP has got himself out of position on a few occasions and caused himself to miss tackles. Fullback is a somewhat simpler issue in defence – if someone breaks the line you tackle them.

        Some of his misses have just been poor tackles, but that’s hardly unique in this current Wallabies lineup.

    • Lee Grant

      Don’t criticise him for not getting dropped. He’s trying to.

      But seriously he is an easy mark for a ball runner – he is diligent trying to rush up but he is too easy to by-pass when he does it, and he chalks up those missed tackles.

      He actually causes ball runners to avoid him – and thus divert them to other tacklers, but those stats are not a good look.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Hilarious! Tip of the hat!

      • jamie

        Similar to Hooper in a way: you have to be in a position to tackle to make a missed tackle.

        Saying that though, when hooper rushes out of the defensive line, he makes his tackles.

        Also is there any forward in professional rugby with smaller arms than Dean Mumm? I know size ain’t everything, but since he always gets manhandled, I think it might be at least something

        • Flat Pass

          Marcel Cotzee might disagree with the arms bit

        • jamie

          His arms are huge?..

      • reggie

        specialist tackle diverter

        • Parker

          That’s a cattle dog.

  • mikado

    Looking forward to it! Australia by 7 I think.

  • Fatflanker

    The loss of Isa and the laser-free venue tips it to the Wallabies for mine. The (finishing) scrum needs a bit of redemption – a bad day at the office for other packs is still taken as incontrovertible proof the Wallaby scrum is weak. Excited to see Coleman, Arnold and Timani on the field – sure hope they have blinders and we can settle some positions for the final Bled game and the EOYT. Really, really hoping to see a bit more innovation in the red-zone option-taking – carpet-bomb the in-goal and give Izzy a chance to show his stuff, I say!!

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Pardon my ignorance, but I always thought the red zone was in your own 22. No?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        It’s both. Mainly targeting the defence but about 2/3 of the 22 is the red zone for both teams

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          Ah I see. And so my Rugby education continues. Much appreciated.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I like those three as well and when McMahon comes back I hope it’s Coleman, Arnold, Timani and McMahon. I still think the backline is weak though

  • Tim

    How come Mumm is a line-out expert? What happend to Simmons, Fardy and Kane? You could put any of those 3 at 6 even they would do a better job then Mumm. Im really excited for Lopeti i hope he and Rory have a cracker!

  • Lee Grant

    “It will be the 7th lock combination used by the Wallabies this year so Cheika definitely doesn’t have the key to that lock.”

    That was funny.

    Facundo Isa will be a big loss and Timani should not compare so unfavourably as he would against Isa who is world class this year.

    Pint-sized winger Cordero will be missed also, especially if the other winger, Mantera, can’t return from injury. These are their two first-string wingers.

    And don’t even contemplate Sanchez failing his fitness test. SG Inglesias is a decent player and can move to 10, but he is no Sanchez.

    • Greg

      but how would anyone be able to check if Sanchez was injured…. he puts on such a show that even he is probably not certain.

  • Really?

    That’s an excellent observation on the missed tackles, to extend it further Wallabies have 5 of the top 10 offenders in missed tackles when you add
    Cooper and Hooper ( who is also top tackler before the rocks get thrown). But the concerning part is all 5 start this weekend against a sidewho are trying to develop a ball in hand game and improving at it, v interesting. Wallabies should win this but if they give up the gain line in the tackle, it will get a whole lot tougher real fast.

    • Joy

      As you mention Hooper has made the most tackles in the championship. He’s success rate is 88.4% which is pretty good for a player with backs in his sights.
      Jamie makes a good point. If you try to tackle everything that moves you are bound to miss a few. By the way the Argentine 7 has 77%
      Foley’s success rate in 71%. His opposite number Iglesias is marginally better at 74%.
      Haylett Petty has 70% to Montero 57%
      Mumm 75% to Matera 95% is an issue for this game but he tackled at 93% in the World Cup. So he needs to apply himself.

  • Get your money on the time of first Wallabies try < 30 seconds going on the last 2 games vs Argentina.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Nice write up Scott. I think the game will hinge on the Wallabies ability to play like they did in the first 10-20 minutes last week. That was just awesome to watch and I just wish it could continue, if they can pull that off and get in some points and then defend like they did last time they could pull this off. At the same time I think the Pumas have the players to grind them down in close and then attack the inside channels which could prove dangerous, especially with the missed tackle count from Mumm and Foley. I hope the Wallabies do pull this off but they’ll have to play with more mental composure than they’ve displayed so far this year.

  • Simon

    The answer to a dysfunctional lineout is NOT to introduce a new locking combination every week! And Chibba to once again warm the pine for 80 while Moore runs himself ragged and his lineout throwing falls apart?

    I’ve lost all faith in Cheika’s selection ability. Pooper was a genius move but the genius starts and ends there. Never had any faith in his tactical ability, so I’m all out of faith.

    Where’s KB’s mobile phone when you need it?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      And it was a short lived genius idea once opposition sides worked out how to nullify or reduce its effectiveness

      • Patrick

        Actually I think if you got the tight five ruck participations back up, the Pooper could dominate again.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I don’t mate. Every other team who play the loosies in specific roles can’t be wrong. The thing is if you get one player in a position playing a different role then that role has to either be picked up by someone else, which means their role isn’t being done, or it’s not done which means it can be exploited. I think that’s what has happened here. Also for all the good work they did, and they did, they never really played as a team and that can also be exploited.

    • Glenn

      “…your dreamin’…’. Firstly it’s the calls and the jumpers positioning. Moore’s throws have been, in the vast majority, spot on to where the call tells him to put the ball. But why call to a jumper who has the opposition tall timber marking them. EG the throws being intercepted by Etzabetts (sp). Moore’s throw may be a bit flat but they are subsequently quicker. We need to concentrate on the calls and positioning in the LOs. Oh and how is KB going to help that problem. Geese Simon.

      • Simon

        KB’s phone is going to help that problem. What happened last time KB got onto his phone?

  • Bay35Pablo

    “Cheika definitely doesn’t have the key to that lock”
    Boom tish. Here all week folks ….

  • jamie

    Can’t see Houston getting a gig this weekend. Then again, with Cheik, who knows…

  • John

    Thank god we have Michael hooper.
    Michael hooper has made the most tackles in the 2016 rugby championships, has won the equal most turnovers in 2016 rugby championships, is the top try scorer for the wallabies in 2016, also tops the stats in the championships for wallaby forwards for metres run, line breaks, try assists, tackles busts. Astounding performance

    • MST

      Love your work!

    • jamie

      But he doesn’t force penalties?!?

    • Glenn

      Now if we could just put a 12 on his back and put in a proper 7 things would be perfect.

  • Ravi

    Hooper is the wallabies best no doubt

  • Suzie

    I think his performance get overlooked cause he does it every week.

  • Arty

    My favourite wallaby

  • Wade

    Hooper does much more than he gets credit for, that try assist against the boks was absolute top drawer, can’t believe it didn’t rate a mention, also his defence is extraordinary.
    I rate him our best player in 6 or 7 of our games this year.

  • Hedley

    A mate just told me hooper needs just 1 more try to equal the record for a wallaby forward, all time.

  • Hedley

    Yes that’s true 14 tries is the record, hooper has 13.

  • Mike

    Hooper is the best flanker in the world, I’ve never seen a player with such a well rounded game. Also like the look a Savea but still early days

  • Matt

    Agree, hooper and savea are the future, one dimensional 7’s are finished.

  • Brendon

    How refreshing I couldn’t agree more with these opinions of hooper I was starting to think this site was full of ione eyed diots.

  • Max

    So hooper has won more turnovers than any other player in the championships???
    That’s going to unsettle a few on this site

    • First time long time

      I’d put a few more question marks after that.

  • Rennie

    Michael hooper has been wallaby fans player of the year the last 3 years, I’m not sure comments here are representative

  • Walla

    I think you meant one eyed idiots but yes agreed

  • mikado

    Has the Hooper family just discovered GAGR? ;)

  • Patrick

    Can’t we find a bloody brick wall that can pass a ball more or less and put them at 12? Timani even?? Bring Mortlock out of retirement?

    After all QC can distribute for two, that isn’t the problem, we just need to create a no-go zone for the opposition in the middle of their attack, and provide QC with a hard-crashing “get-out-jail-card”.

    • jamie

      Reece Hodge would do well. 100kg, head down.

  • onlinesideline

    whose going to pilfer ?
    Im worried about Puma counter rucks and slow ball
    Hooper is the only one with any pace in forwards
    Shouldnt someone like Gill be in the team for this scenario ?

  • jamie

    Injuries force a mass of changes to Argentina’s lineup vs Australia.

    1 Lucas Noguera Paz, 2 Agustín Creevy (capt.), 3 Ramiro Herrera, 4 Guido Petti, 5 Matías Alemanno, 6 Pablo Matera, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 9 Martín Landajo, 10 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 13 Matías Orlando, 14 Matías Moroni, 15 Joaquín Tuculet

    Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Gabriel Ascárate, 23 Lucas González Amorosino


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