5 Things We Learnt From Wallabies v Argentina

Sat, 02/10/2021, 08:49 pm
Jim Tucker
by Jim Tucker
Wallabies win 4 in a row in 2021 as they down the Pumas at CBUS stadium

Rate the Wallabies on the efficient first hour and 32-3 not the sloppy closing 20 minutes of this 32-17 Test victory over Argentina on the Gold Coast.

Head coach Dave Rennie revealed post-match he made the decision to empty the eight-man bench early to give players a chance to impress. He got a lack of accuracy and treading water instead of finishing off the Pumas.

Read the full program for Round Six of TRC here

The good from a fourth straight Test win still outweighed the ending.

So what did we learn at Cbus Super Stadium?

1 ANDREW KELLAWAY LOVES A GOOD LINEOUT MOVE

In the limited open spaces of Test rugby, the lineout gives teams a rare chance to run a set play. Lanky lock Darcy Swain has become a go-to target to initiate them with a sure throw.

Hooker Folau Fainga'a wrapped around the end of a lineout late in the first half and fed a storming Rob Valetini, who punched through a hole.

The ever-present Kellaway was sniffing for the pass on the inside for the first try of his hat-trick.

It was another good finish like his try off Hunter Paisami against the All Blacks at Eden Park in August.

What can you say about Kellaway? He now has eight tries in nine Tests at a stronger strike rate than Israel Folau in his debut season (10 tries in 15 Tests) as a Wallaby in 2013. Kellaway's balance, anticipation, no-errors style and composure is made for Test rugby.

What's that old adage about taking your chance and running with it.

As Rennie admitted: "To be honest, he wasn't in our plans a month before naming the (first) squad. He's now a consistent part of the starting line-up...he's got a nose for the line." 

2 WHERE WERE THE TURBOS ON THE BENCH?

Most often this season, the Wallabies have got a good lift from the bench. In this one, it was just splutter and no fizz over the final 22 minutes. The Argentinians outscored the Wallabies 14-0 in the period when the Wallabies had all eight reserves on the field.

It all just finished a bit disjointed and messy.

Veteran prop Greg Holmes helped earn a scrum penalty in his first Test scrum in five years during his 16-minute cameo as a 38-year-old.

Play didn't flow Sean McMahon's way and we didn't get to see a trademark run from the replacement flanker in his 22 minutes on the field. He's available for the tour of Japan and Europe and will be ready for more imposing minutes by then.

You had to feel for replacement hooker Lachie Lonergan who came on when winger Jordan Petaia cramped up.

The Wallabies were out of reserves by then so the hooker hovered aimlessly in the backline for the first Wallabies lineout throw when he ran on.

He got busy after that.

Replacement back Tom Wright was active after craving game time since losing his spot to Kellaway.

Back-up flyhalf James O'Connor will have enjoyed getting back into things with his second cameo since returning from injury.

You need a lift from the eight on the bench and it will have to be better than this in Europe.

3 ROB VALETINI

There are going to be plaudits for Kellaway, Len Ikitau and Darcy Swain for their excellent debut seasons as Wallabies but we should also remember 2021 as the year Rob Valetini came of age as a Test backrower.

He is a hard, skilful backrower and a guy you have to see live to fully appreciate him.

His last metre onto the ball and first metre after receiving it are all power plus he hits with technique and force.

He has been a standout this season and his try-making role in the first Kellaway try was typical.

4 WHAT NOW FOR JORDAN PETAIA?

It was good to see Petaia get an extended run. He was dangerous and awkward to handle and it was obvious he was making a big effort to get involved off his wing like the absent Marika Koroibete.

He made eight runs for 77m. He popped one basketball-style pass over the top, threw one loose one-hander and declined to throw another at the end of a strong surge. 

It was cramp that forced him off not an injury. He'll have a big role to play on tour, especially with some doubt around whether Koroibete will tour.

5 SUPER HOOPER

You really thought skipper Michael Hooper would get a rest somewhere. Instead, he's gone hard and strong in 10 Tests in a row against France, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina. He is unbelievably resilient and consistent.

He hasn't given back-up No.7 Fraser McReight a look in.

He deserves the 10-day break ahead before going on tour more than anyone. As he said, the core of this group have been away and in the Wallaby bubble for 109 days.

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