Wal­la­bies fear the Pu­mas on the hop

The New Age (Northern Cape) - - SPORT -

THE Wal­la­bies are look­ing to se­cure a first Rugby Cham­pi­onship win by mak­ing sure they close out the Test against Ar­gentina to­mor­row af­ter some frus­trat­ingly close shaves.

Aus­tralia led 20-10 in the sec­ond half against South Africa in Perth last week, only for the Spring­boks to snatch a 23-23 draw.

It fol­lowed a heart­break­ing 35-29 de­feat to the All Blacks in Dunedin last month when the Aus­tralians re­lin­quished a 17point lead as New Zealand snatched the win­ning try with two min­utes left.

The Wal­la­bies have won 13 of their last 14 games against the Pu­mas and have lost only once to Ar­gentina in 13 Tests at home, but are strug­gling for vic­to­ries this year.

Michael Cheika’s team have won only two of their six in­ter­na­tion­als this sea­son and vice- cap­tain Will Ge­nia said the Wal­la­bies must find a way to cope with the pres­sure mo­ments and push on to win.

“It’s about just han­dling those mo­ments bet­ter be­cause in the mo­ment that’s when you are a lit­tle bit flus­tered,” the 81 Test- capped scrumhalf said.“We’ve just got to make sure that when we are pre­sented with those tough mo­ments in games, we re­spond how we want with clear minds as op­posed to just be­ing a lit­tle bit rat­tled.”

The Pu­mas tra­di­tion­ally give the Wal­la­bies prob­lems, par­tic­u­larly at scrum time and Ge­nia ex­pects Ar­gentina to come hard af­ter they led the All Blacks 22-15 be­fore go­ing down 39-22 last week in New Zealand.

“I think they’ll (Ar­gentina) come at the break­down pretty hard and look to at­tack us when they have the ball around the ruck,” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure we have a real con­scious ef­fort to tighten up those ar­eas of our game.”

The Wal­la­bies have made just one change to their start­ing XV with ex­pe­ri­enced lock Rob Sim­mons re­plac­ing Rory Arnold.

The Pu­mas have made four changes with To­mas Lezana, Martin Lan­dajo, Ramiro Moy­ano and Ma­tias Or­lando named in the start­ing 15.

Lezana will start at No 8 in place of Ben­jamin Ma­cone while Lan­dajo re­places for­mer ACT Brumbies scrumhalf To­mas Cubelli.

Joaquin Tu­culet and San­ti­ago Cordero have made way for winger Moy­ano and out­side cen­tre Or­lando, with Emil­iano Bof­felli to start at full­back.

Ar­gentina flanker Pablo Mat­era said he was keen to test him­self against Wal­la­bies skip­per Michael Hooper at the break­down.

“We al­ways watch our op­po­nents’ stats and Michael Hooper’s stats are amaz­ing, he’s a player that runs a lot ev­ery­where, re­ally com­plete player,” Mat­era said.

“The Wal­la­bies has been al­ways an is­sue (for us) with the break­down – (David) Po­cock, Hooper, a lot of play­ers that go for the ball and I think that’s why we are work­ing a lot on that.”

Mat­era said he was ex­pect­ing a fast start from the Wal­la­bies, some­thing Ar­gentina will have to match if they want to repli­cate their All Blacks ef­fort.

“I know they need to win, same as us, it’s go­ing to be a re­ally dif­fi­cult match,” he said.

“The first min­utes of the game are re­ally in­tense and I be­lieve if we man­age to do a re­ally good first half, like we did last week, I think we’ll have a lot of chances to win.” – AFP

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

FRESH LEGS: To­mas Lezana will start in the No 8 jersey for Ar­gentina against Aus­tralia to­mor­row.

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