Rugby Championship 2017: Australia vs Argentina Preview

Rugby player hands off opponent in front of packed stadium

Argentina will look to build on last week's showing against the All Blacks when the face Australia in Canberra on Saturday 16 September. 

A fascinating clash awaits at the GIO Stadium, where the only remaining winless sides in The Rugby Championship will face-off on Saturday. The Wallabies’ 23-all draw with the Springboks was certainly not the desired result for a team looking to make a statement after consecutive losses to New Zealand, while Argentina’s stubborn refusal to play an 80-minute game of football saw them lose, once again, in New Plymouth. Both will be hungry for a change in fortunes in Canberra this weekend.

Australia v Argentina | Saturday 16 September 2017 | GIO Stadium, Canberra | 12:05

To Win (80-Mins)
Australia 2/13, Draw 28/1, Argentina 17/4
Australia 9/10 (-12.5), Argentina 9/10 (+12.5)

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Michael Cheika’s Wallabies, more than any other side in the competition, are due a win. Last week’s performance against South Africa may not have been a case in point (nor the first 50-odd minutes of the first Bledisloe-Test for that matter), but the way they stood up to the All Blacks, after such a disappointing Aussie showing against them in Super Rugby, demands some sort of reward.

That very prize may come this Saturday when they host a very mediocre Argentine outfit at the GIO Stadium. Kurtley Beale has been a revelation since returning from his short-stint with Wasps in England, and his playmaking role at inside-centre has reaped huge rewards for his side.

The way he manipulated the Springbok defence to score in the corner last week was absolutely epic, and it really does seem that he is enjoying his rugby again. The Pumas may be hard-pressed to combat the likes of Beale as well as Israel Folau this week, and the Wallabies’ counter-attack could end up punishing any loose play by the South Americans.

For a time during last weekend’s Albany Test, it seemed that Los Pumas had New Zealand on the ropes; ready to deliver a knock-out punch. Alas, in what has become an all too familiar sight, Argentina failed to keep up the intensity for the duration of the contest, and were punished during lapses in concentration.

Some questionable decision-making by captain Agustin Creevy also played a role, but invariably it was the Argentines’ failure at maintaining pressure that let them down. One big positive that did come out of their eventual 22-39 defeat was the way that they competed at the breakdown.

They committed numbers and made sure they spoiled Kiwi ball; a tactic they should look to employ again this weekend to combat the threat of the dangerous Wallaby backs. A win isn’t incomprehensible, but Argentina haven’t looked too good at all this term. They may struggle.

Verdict: Australia (-12.5) 9/10
With two near-misses back-to-back, Australia will be throwing everything and the kitchen sink at this Test to get a win. They will be aching for a big result, and they may prove to be too hot to handle for the Pumas. Also, expect Beale to have another blinder this week.

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