Wallabies vs Pumas: Five things we learned

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies have suffered a 23-19 defeat to the Pumas on the Gold Coast.

What are we talking about after that loss?

1. Pressure turns right back up on Wallabies

It wasn’t just the Gold Coast weather putting the heat on the Wallabies on Saturday night.

Their first loss to Argentina in Australia since a 1983 loss at Ballymore will only turn up the pressure on the Wallabies.

With the Springboks beating the All Blacks earlier in the day, the Wallabies will slip down to seventh in the World Rugby rankings next week - the lowest they have ever been since the system was introduced in 2003.

The frustration of one fan boiled over into an ugly post-match incident of push and shove between a fan and flanker Lukhan Tui.

Every single one of the Wallabies has a lot of work to do in the next fortnight to turn things around before a clash with the Springboks in Port Elizabeth.

2. Basics go missing

The Wallabies just couldn't make things stick on Saturday night. Crooked lineouts, misjudging late passes (or non-passes in Israel Folau's case) and avoidable knock-ons all cost Australia at times.

The opportunities were there but those simple errors will hurt you against any team.

The more things went wrong, the more they looked nervous and hesitant in attack.

Throw in a major lack of urgency and hunger, particularly after turnovers, and the Wallabies are consistently putting themselves under enormous amounts of pressure.

Australia finished with 17 handling errors on Saturday compared to just four against the Springboks last weekend and they simply can't afford to rack up those numbers on a regular basis.

3. Playmaker questions still linger

Kurtley Beale. Photo: Getty ImagesKurtley Beale and Matt Toomua showed enough promise against the Springboks to earn another week as the starting inside back duo.

Against the Pumas, they were nowhere near as effective. Beale had a game he would rather forget and Toomua’s touches were few and far between.

Australia’s attack looked more aligned when Foley came on in the 49th minute but he made his share of mistakes as well.

There is no clear and obvious standout combination but which duo takes the field in Port Elizabeth will be a pivotal decision for Michael Cheika.

4. Izzy and Dane the right combo

Let’s get one thing out of the way - Israel Folau should have passed to Bernard Foley in the final seconds of tonight’s match.

No question about that.

Aside from that one obvious blunder, the shift of Israel Folau to the wing was a success and only partly because of Folau.

The big positive for the Wallabies was how much more comfortable Dane Haylett-Petty clearly looks playing at fullback.

Haylett-Petty was one of the Wallabies best and Folau's spectacular first-half try was a highlight as well. The Wallabies play a fluid attack at times but you'd expect to see Folau in 14 and Haylett-Petty in 15 again soon.

5. Ledesma looking the goods

Mario Ledesma showed his potential as a head coach when he took the Jaguares on a super run in Super Rugby and the signs are strong in his early days with the Pumas.

Though their scrum is not as intimidating as it once was, Ledesma has much of the setup firing and that showed on Saturday night.

He said it himself post-match - the Pumas are playing with no fear and that starts with a coach willing to set them free.