Scandalous week set to prime emotions
AN already successful home Test season for the Wallabies has come full circle ahead of a final Rugby Championship clash with emotioncharged Argentina today (5.05pm), in which Australia will push for a fourth win in a row, which seemed beyond them a month ago.
Captain Michael Hooper expects heightened emotions from the Pumas in their Australian sign-off after a highly eventful few days which included losing six players after a midweek border breach left them stranded in NSW.
The tourists were also stirred by the “photo-gate” incident, in which Argentinian captain Julian Montoya was left out of a skippers picture in Townsville last week, which coach Mario Ledesma said “disrespected” their team.
Hooper put that kerfuffle down as just a “really logistically hard thing to set up”, which most of the Wallabies’ campaign had been.
Coach Dave Rennie lamented the ever-changing Covid rules and restrictions which have been thrown at his team, now littered with tried and tested veterans filling jumpers in key positions which were worn by young players when the Wallabies began the campaign against France. For the final home Test on the Gold Coast, Sean McMahon has been recalled and the oldest Wallaby since World War II, 38-year-old Greg Holmes, will also play in a team with 11 different faces from the side which opened the season against France way back in July.
“What has been pleasing is I think we’re starting to gain some momentum now,” Hooper said.
“We’re talking about things during the week and executing them on the field; (but) we’re still chasing that really solid 80-minute performance, and being extra clinical with that.”