Wallabies won't be blindsided by Pumas

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

The Pumas’ world ranking is not reflective of their talent, according to Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham.

The Argentinians currently sit 10th in the World Rugby Rankings but Larkham believes there are a handful of teams above them that have benefited from a schedule that doesn’t include six matches against New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

“It’s really tough for Argentina,” Larkham said.

“Their world ranking probably doesn’t give credit as to how good they are.

“Coming up against New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, (three of) the top five teams in the world, on a consistent basis, is really tough.

“They’re not far off the top five, realistically, but their ranking has been pushed down a little bit because they face these tough opposition in games.

“I think they’ve shown a lot of improvement through Super Rugby with the Jaguares and I think that has transferred nicely into the Argentinian team.”

A large part of that improvement has come with ball in hand, as the Pumas continue to shift towards a style of play that allows the backs to play with more flair.

“Both teams have shown good improvement throughout The Rugby Championship this year, both teams have been unlucky but both teams play with a lot of flair and keep the ball in hand as much as possible,” Larkham said.

“Argentina being at home will bring a lot of intensity to the start of the game.

“I think it’s going to amount to a very exciting game to watch.”

Centre Samu Kerevi was also complimentary of an Argentinian attack that grows in stature with every start.

“Their backline can spark up from anywhere, they’ve got a great attitude and a great skill set so we have to be aware of that,” he said.

“They’ve also got a great playmaker that can create space in Sanchez so we have to be able to front up in that aspect, especially in defence.”