PREVIEW: Australia vs Argentina

The Rugby Championship
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

The Wallabies have had the edge over Argentina in the past, but history will mean little in Perth on Saturday.

Argentina, in its fifth Rugby Championship season, has shown a lot of potential of late, highlighted by an impressive first 50 minutes against the All Blacks. While their solid forward pack and strong scrummaging have long been their trademarks, Los Pumas have added another dimension to their game with their offloading and skilful backline play.

Rob Simmons scored a runaway try in the Rugby World Cup semi final. Photo: Getty Images

Michael Cheika has made just one change to a Wallabies side that defeated the Springboks last Saturday, calling in Wallabies veteran Rob Simmons who has spent three weeks in the NRC with a mission to show some mongrel, while Kane Douglas missed the match day 23 completely. We’re likely to see the eight and ninth Wallabies debutants of the season with Tom Robertson and Lopeti Timani named on the bench.

Los Pumas have made four changes to their starting XV, led by the elevation of Brumbies scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli to the starting side,Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Santiago González Iglesias and Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino will all start.

Match stats

The Wallabies have won 11 of their last 12 encounters against Argentina.

Argentina has only won against the Wallabies on Australia soil once, in 1983.

The Wallabies have a 76 per cent win rate against Argentina, their best rate against any international team they’ve faced more than 20 times.

Key Match ups

Will Genia vs Tomas Cubelli

Genia has been the form player for the Wallabies throughout their Rugby Championship campaign to date, in his return from knee surgery at the start of the year. Los Pumas have called on Tomas Cubelli to wear the number nine jersey, in the hope that he will provide some valuable insight into his Brumbies teammates. While Cubelli has 51 Test caps to his name, he has started on the bench in 32 of them.

Tomas Cubelli shaved his head in support of Brumbies teammate Christian Lealiifano. Photo: Getty Images

Quade Cooper vs Nicolas Sanchez

Cooper will start his third Test on the trot in the number 10 jersey as he continues to build on his combination with Bernard Foley. The Wallabies' backline had its first opportunity to impress last weekend against the Springboks, after limited opportunities against the All Blacks. Sanchez has been one of the Puma's most consistent players in the last couple of years and has an extremely threatening kicking game. The Wallabies will need to be wary of their discipline, especially inside their own half.

Quade Cooper will play his third Test of 2016. Photo: Getty Images

Where will the game will be won?

Discipline will be key for both teams with Bernard Foley and Nicolas Sanchez in fine form with the boot. Foley has kicked  at 89 per cent throughout The Rugby Championship while Sanchez (88 per cent) has slotted 10 penalties from the opening three games. If either side gives away too many penalties in their own half, they're probably going to pay.

Australia (1-15)

Scott Sio, Stephen Moore (c), Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman, Dean Mumm, Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Reece Hodge, Bernard Foley, Samu Kerevi, Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Tom Robertson, Rory Arnold, Lopeti Timani, Sean McMahon, Nick Phipps, Tevita Kuridrani

Argentina (1-15)

Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustín Creevy (c), Ramiro Herrera, Javier Ortega Desio, Matías Alemanno, Pablo Matera, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Facundo Isa, Tomás Cubelli, Nicolás Sánchez, Lucas González Amorosino, Santiago González Iglesias, Matías Moroni, Santiago Cordero, Joaquín Tuculet. Reserves: Julian Montoya, Lucas Noguera, Enrique Pieretto, Marcos Kremer, Leonardo Senatore, Martín Landajo, Gabriel Ascarate, Matías Orlando