The Pumas will wrap up their maiden campaign in The Rugby Championship with a match in the historic Rosario on the banks of the Paraná River, hosting a Wallabies team that last weekend ended their chance to challenge for The Rugby Championship title.
The Wallabies Round Five 31-8 loss to the Springboks, combined with the All Blacks Round Five 54-15 win over the Pumas, ensured that the Australians were unable to ‘defend’ the Tri-Nations title they won in 2011, and it is indicative of how long 12 months can be when looking at the visitors situation.
This time last year they had just defeated the All Blacks to win the final edition of the Tri-Nations, but now arrive in Argentina depleted due to an incredibly high injury toll essentially having a full starting XV of Wallabies missing.
Argentina’s heavy loss to the All Blacks broke a sequence of three highly competitive results, and one shouldn’t read too much into a result which appeared to be a growing Pumas side attempting to take on the World Champions at their own game, while the number one ranked side clearly turned up to La Plata with a serious point to make.
One wonders if former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry’s now famous advice to Argentina – to score more tries – may have come a bit early, with captain Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe saying that against the All Blacks perhaps his troops strayed away from their greatest strength, their no-nonsense defence.
Whether they go back to this approach or continue trying to chance their arm will intrigue, considering that the confident approach could be far more effective against the Wallabies.
Rosario is one of the biggest Argentine cities, with 1.4 million “Rosarinos,” as the locals are called.
The Argentine flag was created in 1812 by General Manuel Belgrano, and the huge Monumento de la Bandera (Flag Monument) is a central point of the city.
Rosario is a strong rugby area, with one of the founding members of the Unión Argentina de Rugby (Rosario Athletic) from the city. It has a competitive club championship and the national club champion is Duendes RC, also from Rosario.
It won’t be the first time Australia plays in Rosario, although this will be the maiden International Rugby Board sanctioned test match at the stadium.
In their first tour to Argentina in 1979, the Wallabies played two test matches in Buenos Aires, but an Australian selection skippered by Mark Loane beat the local provincial side Rosario 21-13.
In 1987, led by centre and current Australian Rugby Union Chairman Michael Hawker (who will attend the match this weekend), the visiting Australians won the tour match 35-15, while two tests were played during that tour again in Buenos Aires.
A third win came in their last visit to Rosario in 1997, 29-18 by a team led by flanker David Wilson, again while the Wallabies played two sanctioned test matches in Buenos Aires.
Argentina fullback Martin Rodriguez is to undergo an operation, after dislocating his shoulder against the All Blacks, but the Pumas had no other injury concerns to speak off.
This resulted in Argentina coach Santiago Phelan retaining the same starting XV, with the only changes on the bench, with loose forward Leonardo Senatore replacing Tomas Vallejos while Nicolas Sanchez replaces Rodriguez.
For the Wallabies, they have lost further players, with Berrick Barnes and Adam Ashley-Cooper ruled out, meaning the young Australian side loses another 118 test caps.
Mike Harris (who will assume kicking responsibilities), Nick Cummins and Ben Tapuai are the changes in the backline, replacing Barnes, Dominic Shipperley and Ashley-Cooper respectively.
Up front the Wallabies have opted for a big pack, with Sitaleki Timani and James Slipper into the side with Dave Dennis and Benn Robinson slipping to the bench.
6 October 2012
Argentina v Wallabies
Estadio Gigante de arroyito, Rosario
Kick off (2010 local, 2310 GMT, Sun 7 Oct 1210 NZT, Sun 7 Oct 1010 NSW/ACT, Sun 7 Oct 0110
Referee: C. Joubert (SARU)
AR: J. Peyper (SARU)
AR: P. Gauzere (FFR)
TMO: S. Borsani (UAR)
HEAD TO HEAD:
Played 18 (in IRB recognised tests): Argentina 4, Australia 13, Drawn 1
Last match: Australia 23 - 19 Argentina @ Skilled Park, Gold Coast (15 September, 2012)
Argentina (test) record at Estadio Gigante de arroyito: Played 2, Won 2, Lost 0
Argentina record at home (in IRB recognised tests): Played 109, Won 51, Lost 52, Drawn 6
Australia (test) record in Argentina: Played 7, Won 3, Lost 3, Drawn 1
Australia record away from home: Played 248, Won 108, Lost 134, Drawn 6
Point’s aggregate: Argentina 268, Australia 468 (15-26 aggregate)
Tries aggregate: Argentina 22, Australia 56 (1-3 aggregate)
29 September, 2012: Argentina 15 - 54 New Zealand (5th round of The Rugby Championship)
15 September, 2012: Argentina 19 - 23 Australia (4th round of The Rugby Championship)
8 September, 2012: Argentina 5 – 21 New Zealand (3rd round of The Rugby Championship)
25 August, 2012: Argentina 16 – 16 South Africa (2nd round of The Rugby Championship
18 August, 2012: Argentina 6 – 27 South Africa (1st round of The Rugby Championship)
11 August, 2012: Argentina 31 – 17 Stade Francais (friendly)
4 August, 2012: Argentina 21 – 25 Stade Francais (friendly)
23 June, 2012: Argentina 10 – 49 France (3rd test June tour)
29 September, 2012: Australia 8 - 31 South Africa (5th round of The Rugby Championship)
15 September. 2012: Australia 23 - 19 Argentina (4th round of The Rugby Championship)
8 September, 2012: Australia 26 – 19 South Africa (3rd round of The Rugby Championship)
25 August, 2012: Australia 0 – 22 New Zealand (2nd round of The Rugby Championship)
18 August, 2012: Australia 19 – 27 New Zealand (1st round of The Rugby Championship)
23 June, 2012: Australia 20 – 19 Wales (4rd test June tour)
16 June, 2012: Australia 25 – 23 Wales (3rd test June tour)
9 June, 2012: Australia 27 – 19 Wales (2nd test June tour)
Formación de Los Pumas (courtesy of the UAR)
1-Rodrigo Roncero (54 partidos – 30 puntos)
2-Eusebio Guiñazú (23 partidos – 5 puntos)
3-Juan Figallo (14 partidos – 5 puntos)
4-Manuel Carizza (28 partidos – 5 puntos)
5-Patricio Albacete (51 partidos – 5 puntos)
6-Julio Farías Cabello (15 partidos – 10 puntos)
7-Juan Manuel Leguizamón (42 partidos – 35 puntos)
8-Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (capitán) (48 partidos – 20 puntos)
9-Martín Landajo (13 partidos – 5 puntos)
10-Juan Martín Hernández (36 partidos – 103 puntos)
11-Horacio Agulla (39 partidos – 20 puntos)
12-Santiago Fernández (23 partidos – 13 puntos)
13-Marcelo Bosch (15 partidos – 11 puntos)
14-Gonzalo Camacho (16 partidos – 25 puntos)
15-Lucas González Amorosino (19 partidos – 20 puntos)
16-Agustín Creevy (18 partidos)
17-Juan Pablo Orlandi (9 partidos)
18-Leonardo Senatore (13 partidos – 10 puntos)
19-Tomás Leonardi (12 partidos – 10 puntos)
20-Nicolás Vergallo (29 partidos)
21- Nicolás Sánchez (4 partidos – 7 puntos)
22-Juan Imhoff (10 partidos – 45 puntos)
Entrenador: Santiago Phelan.
Australia: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Sitaleki Timani, 5 Nathan Sharpe (capt), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Dave Dennis, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Dominic Shipperley.