Pumas not out for Salta revenge in Brisbane

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Argentina were on the wrong side of a Salta miracle in October last year but Pumas coach Mario Ledesma says he won’t be leaning on revenge to drive his players in Brisbane on Saturday night.

The Wallabies turned a 24-point half-time deficit into a record comeback in Argentina last year in a bizarre match but Ledesma said revenge was an “old school” motivation technique that had a limited time span with modern footballers.

“It doesn't work that way,” he said.

“We old school boys, we used to feed a lot from that kind of thing but this generation it just doesn't work. 

“It has to have a logical explanation. If you try to give them that as a motivation, it only lasts five minutes, I think.”

That logical explanation will come in a simple form - the pride of playing for the Pumas.

“For starters, they're playing for their country so they don't need much more motivation either than playing for their country and then just protecting what they've been earning just by hard work,” he said.

“It's their thing. 

“When you look at successful teams they own their thing, they own their team and I think we're working on that and hopefully we'll see a little bit of that tomorrow.”

The importance of converting promising form into a win will also be a big driver for the Pumas, after falling just four points short of the All Blacks in Buenos Aires last weekend, captain Pablo Matera said.

“It’s a big game for us, we came from a good game but we couldn't win so we're really looking forward to trying to get a first win in the Rugby Championship (this year),” he said.

The Wallabies have reshuffled their backline for the Suncorp Stadium clash and though some new combinations are still forming, the Pumas will be aware of the threats.

Matera pointed to fullback Kurtley Beale as one especially dangerous player in the Wallabies’ line up.

“We like to put a lot of pressure on them, (if) they get the ball and they've got space and time, they're really difficult to defend,” he said.

“Kurtley Beale's one of the best players in the world so I'm sure that if we don't put a lot of pressure on him he's going to do whatever he wants in the game. 

“So, we'll have to make sure we put some pressure there.”

The backrow battle will be a mouthwatering one with the powerful Argentinians going up against the relative new-look Australian combination of Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Michael Hooper and Isi Naisarani.

Matera said the trio would bring a big physical challenge but it was one for which the Pumas would be ready.

“I think nowadays they have bigger guys than us, really heavy players and strong and physical players so it's going to be hard but that's the game we like, a physical game and more direct so I think we're going to be okay,” he said.

The Wallabies take on Argentina at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday July 27, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on Network Ten, FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.