All Blacks tip more woe for Wallabies
The triumphant All Blacks believe the wounded Wallabies will be ripe for the picking in Rosario if Argentina play with the same adventure that backfired against them on the weekend.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen urged the Pumas to continue with their expansive, attacking approach as they hope to score a maiden Rugby Championship win over Australia in their final-round match on Sunday morning (AEST).
Argentina were blown out of the water 54-15 as the all-conquering All Blacks notched up a 15th straight Test win.
But the Pumas did rattle the world champions early by keeping the ball in hand and playing with width.
Also, injury-riddled Australia arrived in Argentina late on Sunday (local time) following a long plane ride from South Africa where they were thumped 31-8.
While Boks coach Heyneke Meyer predicted the Wallabies were facing an ambush, Hansen said the Pumas’ biggest challenge was backing their attacking instincts and keeping their confidence.
Argentina did lead Australia 19-6 midway through their previous match on the Gold Coast and the Wallabies have since lost Berrick Barnes (lung), Adam Ashley-Cooper (concussion) and Quade Cooper (knee) to injury and also have Radike Samo (shoulder), Digby Ioane (knee) and Tatafu Polota-Nau (head, shoulder) in doubt.
“I think they will be playing an Australian side that will be looking at itself a wee bit and when that happens you have to question how much confidence the Australians will come with,” Hansen said.
“The big question is how much the Pumas react to (the All Blacks loss). I thought they played pretty well but yet the scoreboard they didn’t.
“I think if they can master that mentally, then I think they have a real show of beating Australia here.
“They showed they were good enough to beat them in Australia.”
New Zealand No.8 Kieran Read agreed that the final match in Rosario was the fired-up Pumas’ best chance for success.
“They definitely played a lot with the ball (in La Plata) and I think if they continue to do what they’re doing, then they will get there at some point and I think they’re as good a chance as any next week,” said Read.
While the All Blacks (21 points) will be hoping to edge to one victory of their record 17-match winning streak when they face the Springboks (12) in Johannesburg, the Wallabies (8) can still finish second in the tournament with a big win over the Pumas (3).
Equally, the Wallabies could also still finish equal-last on the points table if the Pumas score a bonus-point win.
Australia have added Queensland Reds utility back Luke Morahan, who is in line to start at fullback, and Melbourne Rebels lock Cadeyrn Neville to their bruised and battered squad.© AAP 2013
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