Quade wary about Puma surprise-packets
Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper has identified the Pumas’ unpredictability as their most worrying asset for Saturday night’s banana-skin Test at Skilled Park.
Australia are warm favourites to beat Argentina in their first meeting in nine years but a wary Cooper stressed the world No.8-ranked nation wouldn’t be underestimated on the Gold Coast.
The Pumas are still looking for their maiden Rugby Championship victory but surprised South Africa with a 16-all draw in Mendoza and were just 9-5 down to New Zealand after 65 minutes in Wellington last Saturday night.
Argentina have kept their ultra-physical forward pack intact and will again take the fight up to the Wallabies with aggressive scrummaging and brute force at the breakdown.
But Cooper said Australia – boasting only one player, new captain Nathan Sharpe, who has opposed the Pumas – were worried about the surprises the visitors have in store.
The five-eighth admitted the Wallabies knew very little about rivals who mostly played French club rugby and they’d been swatting up by watching plenty of northern hemisphere footage.
“There’s been a lot of tape watching this week for a lot of the boys,” Cooper said.
“We don’t know much about them and no one in the team, except for Sharpey, has had the opportunity to play against them.
“Their unpredictablility is a big strength of their’s and also their forward pack.
“They’re definitely a team we’re not taking lightly at all. They’re going to throw a lot at us.”
Pumas coach Santiago Phelan has made two backline changes from the 21-5 loss to the All Blacks, dropping halfback Nicolas Vergallo and fullback Martin Rodriguez.
Martin Landajo is the new No.9 while Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, a star performer at last year’s World Cup, earning Argentina a quarter-final berth with a scintillating sideline try against Scotland, will bring extra attacking spark from fullback.
World-class lock and Pumas vice-captain Patricio Albacete will earn his 50th cap on the Gold Coast where Skilled Park becomes the eighth home venue in the Wallabies’ history.
Argentina: Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Santiago Fernandez, Horacio Agulla, Juan Martin Hernandez, Martin Landajo; Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (capt), Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Julio Faras Cabello, Patricio Albacete, Manuel Carizza, Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Rodrigo Roncero. Res: Agustin Creevy, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Leonardo Senatore, Toms Leonardi, Nicolas Vergallo, Martin Rodriguez, Juan Imhoff.
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