Finegan: Wallabies need to even out their extremes

The Rugby Championship
by Owen Finegan

This weekend will see an exciting rematch of the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-final between Australia and Argentina.

The maiden Rugby Championship match to be played in Twickenham is an intriguing one, though you’d suspect the bipartisan crowd might just be on the side of Los Pumas, who have lost 12 of their past 13 matches against Australia.

The Wallabies will play Argentina at Twickenham in October.It feels like a long time since the Wallabies beat their South American rivals at the same ground to reach a World Cup semi-final - more than a mere 350 days that separates their two Twickenham match ups.

A three-nil series loss to England at home and another Bledisloe series in which outgunned by the All Blacks have provided painful interludes for the Wallabies ahead of their London return.

There have been good signs in the Wallabies’ performances in their recent Rugby Championship outings but inconsistency has been a major problem.

It was the lineout that initially proved their Achilles heel and though their winning percentage has risen, their patchy delivery has hindered Australia’s chances to build scores from set piece.

The Pumas tested the All Blacks in Hamilton. Photo: Getty ImagesAgainst the All Blacks last week, Argentina again found patches of ascendancy but were unable to punish the Kiwis at critical times, with four rapid All Blacks tries sealing the Argentinians’ fate.

The Wallabies also showed promise against South Africa, with an intent to attack and keep the ball in hand, but were beaten in territory and possession by a Springboks side that despite declarations to the contrary have stuck true to their nation’s trademark style.

The loss of David Pocock and Sean McMahon has opened the window of opportunity for Lopeti Timani a more traditional No 8.

Lopeti Timani has a chance to impress in London. Photo: Getty ImagesTimani,  like his Wallaby brother Sitaleki, is a physical presence on the field, a strong ball carrier with a real physical presence in both defence and the contact zone.

Leroy Houston will also give some back up in that position, should he make the final bench cut, and you can’t help but see a glimmer of Toutai Kefu in his play.

The endeavour to use the ball from both the Wallabies and Argentina bodes for an exciting Twickenham introduction to the Rugby Championship and if the Wallabies can maintain their threats for the whole 80 minutes, they should win comfortably.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the Wallabies to build some momentum and consistency, as they head into an All Blacks Eden Park encounter and a five-Test Spring Tour. 

The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ARU.

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