The 2020 Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations will come to a close this weekend with Australia and Argentina locking horns on Saturday, 05 December.
Image copyright – Steve Haag Sports
We are set for a rather dour conclusion to the 2020 Rugby Championship with New Zealand having all but secured the title with a big win over Argentina this past week. While both the Argentines and Australia are in with a mathematical chance of claiming the title, one of the two sides would have to rack up a monstrous scoreline in order to do so.
Australia v Argentina
Saturday 5 December
To Win (80 Mins)
Dave Rennie’s first season at the helm of the Wallabies has been rather profitable despite the fact that they have only managed one win from their five games. That victory was against New Zealand, and that 24-22 home victory over the Kiwis coupled with their 16-16 draw with the old enemy has to be viewed as progress for a Wallabies side that had been floundering for the past two years.
The major disappointment of the season for the ‘men in gold’ will have been their other draw; a 15-15 draw with an admittedly in form Argentina outfit. Had the Tri-Nations hosts beaten the South Americans in that fixture, then a win this weekend would have seen them claim the Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship for the first time in half a decade.
While they are still able to win the tournament, they’d need to beat Argentina by 100 points. And well all know that isn’t going to happen. As such, I expect Rennie to rotate his squad somewhat and give the likes of rookie ten Noah Lolesio some extra game time.
Los Pumas were brought crashing back down to Earth this past weekend as a second-half blitz from the All Blacks saw them go down 38-0 in Newcastle. This was the Argentines first defeat of the tournament with the South Americans previously beating New Zealand 15-25 in their opening game and then holding Australia to a 15-15 draw in their second fixture.
Last week’s defeat was pretty much inevitable as the Argentines were extremely fatigued having played their intense Test matches on the bounce. They did manage to hold their own against the mighty All Blacks for about 60-minutes but then were torn apart as they tired.
Like their opponents, the Argentines have little chance of claiming the title, with the only way they are able to do it being if they beat Australia by more than 64 points. With this in mind, I reckon we’ll also see a number of changes to the argentine run-on side with overworked pivot, Nicholas Sanchez, likely to be given some much-needed rest.
Verdict Australia (-)
I just cannot see what looks an extremely tired Argentine outfit keeping up with an Australian side who have enjoyed a week off. My money is on the hosts ending the year on a high by getting a big win over their opponents.