Argentina and Australia will renew hostilities this weekend when they clash at Estadio Bicentenario in Chile.
Australia will be looking to make it two wins from two starts when they conclude their tour of South America this Saturday. Wallabies fans will be hoping this one is a far more straightforward fixture after last week’s rollercoaster 24-41 victory in Mendoza.
Argentina v Australia
Saturday 13 August
To Win (80 Mins)
Argentina 18/10 | Draw 20/1 | Australia 9/20
Argentina (+5.5) 9/10 | Australia (-5.5) 9/10
While the Springboks brutally ground down the All Blacks in what was slow burner, the Argentina v Australia clash was an all-action thriller that featured points galore and a number of changes to the lead.
Having trailed 19-10 at half-time, the Wallabies needed to get themselves back in the hunt early in the second half. They did just this with Liam McCreight scoring from a driving maul. It was the men in gold’s second try of the game with the previous five-pointer also coming from a rolling maul.
Argentina would hit back shortly after with a magnificent length of the field try that was reminiscent of the Jaguares in their Super Rugby pomp. That would be the last time the hosts would make their way over the whitewash with the Wallabies then controlling the final quarter of the game.
Dave Rennie’s men would find more success from close quarter lineout drives as they were awarded a penalty try and then from a solidly set maul, hooker Folau Fainga’a would crash over and ensure the Australians took an eight-point lead into the final ten minutes of the fixture.
Things would get even better for the visitors as they bagged a bonus point try in after the clock had turned red with Len Ikitau finishing after some smart work from his fellow backs off broken play.
Wallabies counting the cost of Mendoza win
While the Wallabies will be ecstatic with the victory it did come at a cost, however, with Quade Cooper sustaining a ruptured achilles during the early salvos of the first half. The veteran pivot has been ruled out of the Championship and the injury may even be serious enough to keep him out of next year’s Rugby World Cup.
With Cooper out of the frame, the Wallabies are likely to bring in youngster Noah Lolesio for this week’s fixture. They’ll also continue to be without inspirational skipper Michael Hooper who has been given time off from the game.
The Argentines may not have won last week but they are unlikely to make too many changes as they looked a lot better than they did against Scotland in July. Fly-half Santiago Carreras looked solid as can be and really got the backline going while their loose trio upped their game big time.
If they can front up against Australia’s driving maul, they’ll remain in the hunt throughout the 80 minutes.
Verdict: Argentina (+5.5) 9/10
I do think the Wallabies will have the better of Los Pumas mainly due to their fantastic set piece. It should be a much tighter game this time around, however, as the loss of Quade Cooper will nullify this Australian backline somewhat.