Live scores
Live Commentary
Jaguares : 7
Reds : 11
| 35:00

Pumas pack best in comp: Wallabies rake

By Jim Morton,

 , ,

27 Have your say

    Related coverage

    Powerhouse hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has warned the Wallabies forwards face their toughest assignment in the Rugby Championship on Saturday night by rating Argentina’s pack the best in the competition.

    The Pumas may be ranked eighth in the world but Polota-Nau believes their forward play is without peer in the southern hemisphere.

    The tournament newcomers have certainly made an instant splash in the four-nation competition by unsettling both New Zealand and South Africa in the opening three rounds.

    Polota-Nau spelt out the danger the big, aggressive Argentine forwards pose at scrum time and at the breakdown by remarking their play was superior to the world champion All Blacks and Springboks.

    “It’s on par, but if anything better,” the 37-Test rake said on Thursday.

    The Pumas’ bruising defence and their ability to turnover possession by throwing numbers into the rucks and mauls were a highlight in their 16-all draw against the Boks before scaring the All Blacks at 9-5 down 65 minutes into last weekend’s Wellington Test.

    “They probably have the stats for the highest turnovers and it’s because of all their forwards working so well in the defensive area and jackling and creating such a mess at the breakdown,” Polota-Nau said.

    “Technically if we’re not sound we’ll get punished.

    “So as a contest it’s on par or if not better because I think from (numbers) one to eight they can all be jacklers.”

    Winger Digby Ioane also underlined the challenge at the tackle area for the Wallabies at Gold Coast’s Skilled Park: “They’re ruthless at the breakdown so that’s our main focus.”

    Australia’s scrum performed solidly in their past two outings but the selection of 122kg lock Kane Douglas, over the lighter Rob Simmons, to replace the injured Sitaleki Timani has shown they’re also wary about being outmuscled by the Pumas in the set-piece.

    In scrummaging work, the Wallabies have prepared for all matter of surprises from a team renowned for their hostility and power up front.

    “That’s the beauty of the Argies, they’re quite the unorthodox team so we actually don’t know what to expect,” Polota-Nau said.

    “We’re prepping by all means necessary to make sure that any scenario we can (1) stop but (2) stick to our plan – of getting the ball in and out and let the backs do the rest.”

    Pumas prop Marcos Ayerza stressed the tourists see scrum dominance as a huge mental and physical boost.

    “It’s historically been a main objective for any Argentinian team, to have a solid scrum and build from that psychological domination, and we’re trying to bring that back,” he said.

    “From that dominance, even if it might be an inch, you start building your confidence with every part of the game.”

    © AAP 2018
    Do you find yourself logged out of The Roar?
    We have just switched over to a secure site (https). This means you will need to log-in afresh. If you need help with recovering your password, please get in contact.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (27)

    • September 14th 2012 @ 4:58am
      Luke said | September 14th 2012 @ 4:58am | ! Report

      if the ABs and boks struggled against the Argie forward pack then I can see the Wallaby pack get completely humiliated and man shamed this weekend. There is also no Genia to increase the speed of play/attack which the Argies struggle to cope with so its looking more like an Puma victory this weekend.

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2012 @ 5:10am
      biltongbek said | September 14th 2012 @ 5:10am | ! Report

      The Wallabies are wily characters, I won’t write their pack off just yet, they managed to outfox the Springbok scrum when they were on attack in the Ozzie 22 that turned out for a penalty to Oz and led to their second try.

      At the breakdown Argentina is very aggressive to the point where they infringe a lot, they got away with much of it in Mendoza, but as the tournament went on they got pinged more and more.

      This will be a battle of smarts vs brawn.

      • September 14th 2012 @ 11:17am
        WQ said | September 14th 2012 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        Excellent comment biltongbek and not something I had thought about.
        You would imagine the Refs will get tougher and tougher on the infringing around the ruck, however I have not seen it so far, the got away with plenty in the Test last weekend against the All Blacks without so much as a warning. I think there was something like 14 penalties prior to the sin binning.
        I suspect this has a bit to do with the Northern Hemisphere Refs and the fact they have a different ideal about the way the game should be played.

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2012 @ 8:21am
      B-Rock said | September 14th 2012 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      At full strength, our pack would still be beaten by Argentina (and the ABs and Boks of course) but with the current run of injuries, I can see a lot of scrum penalties and breakdown turnovers.

      A very defensive back line reduces our ability to attack so I can see this turning into a battle of attrition, a tight game decided by goal kicking. While BB is widely criticised, he is the most important Wallaby this weekend.

    • September 14th 2012 @ 9:09am
      WQ said | September 14th 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      I find this comment amazing, has Tatafu Polota-Nau ever played against Argentina?

      • September 14th 2012 @ 9:26am
        Rugby Tragic said | September 14th 2012 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        WQ, great question – answer .. NO.

        And for him to suggest that they are on a par with AB’s is going a bit far. Sure they had parity with the AB scrum for much of the game but hardly was superior IMO. On the other hand I felt that they were marginally better than the Bok scrum at home but not sure is the current Bok scrum is something to write home about.

        I will be there and will be backing the Wallabies but they should not make it am arm wrestle in the forwards, that is playing to the Puma’s strength. I bet they will not kick as much possession away as they have been this week!

        • September 14th 2012 @ 9:41am
          Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | September 14th 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

          RT – My guess is that we won’t kick much at all against the Puma’s.

          And yet in a strange twist of fate it seems to me that a smart kicking game would actually be a pretty decent idea against the Argies. That is IF we got our kick chase going properly.

          BUT…….you never heard it from me.

          • Roar Guru

            September 14th 2012 @ 9:57am
            moaman said | September 14th 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

            Blinky——Would be funny,in a tragic sort of way,if you were proved right about the kicking. This Wallabies setup seems strangely reactionary. Typical case was at Newcastle where they eschewed kickable penalties-possibly because the crowd booed previous shots.

            I just read the following article by Cobus Visage on another site; just the kind of actual analysis that was missing from Campese’s throwaway post yesterday.You don’t have to agree with it but at least it is something tangible and not regurgitated whine-biscuits.


        • September 14th 2012 @ 11:06am
          WQ said | September 14th 2012 @ 11:06am | ! Report

          Rugby Tragic,
          I agree they definitely will not want an arm wrestle with the Argies, if it becomes an arm wrestle the Argies will frustrate and suffocate them out of it.
          Unbelievably I think this week probably requires an amount of kicking from the Wallabies, as the Argie defense will be difficult to breach. I can’t believe I just said that!
          Now that I have said that, I don’t mean the stupid dribbly kicks I mean deep long down the other end in the corners type kicks, preferably in to touch, with an excellent chase.
          This game is going to be all about field position for the Wallabies, not necessarily about copious amounts of possession.

          • September 14th 2012 @ 4:36pm
            Rugby Tragic said | September 14th 2012 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

            Kicking is OK.. BUT only kicking with a purpose! … none of those little grubbers when one in in their own danger zone or aimless kicks that are not able to be contested. How many times did we see those responsible for those grubber and up and unders (and no point in naming the ‘culprits’ we all know) just hoof the pill and give away possession? What were they trying to do, test the defence of their own side??

            I think that if the Argies gain possession, they will try and keep it tight, believing that might be the Wallabies archilles heel, they will rumble it up with their tight five. That is their game. The Wallabies must not be drawn into it – if they play the Argies game they might regret it. Wallabies have to play to their own strengths not their opponents. Now ummm what are the Wallabies strength ?? They all say the ‘ball will beat the man’ … that is the way to breach the Argies defence.

            It is also a question of attitude.. look how Michael Hooper played last week against the Boks. He was a revelation! Even against the AB’s he was not as quite as effective but hell, he gave it his best shot and that was all you could ask of him! I am really looking forward to watching him play tomorrow night – to me watching players with that attitude is worth the price of the ticket alone! I have a bonus watching Shipperly … now he on debut did nothing wrong, not once did he give up possession and his hunting for work was admirable as well.

            I also hope to see Liam Gill on the field as well. Gill is presently an OS flanker but I know one of guys who coached him and he tells me he is filling out big time! Perhaps a future No 8 if Hooper locks up No 7 – Higgers at No 6 …Hmmm where does that leave Pocock? … where does the future lie?

      • September 14th 2012 @ 2:11pm
        Kuruki said | September 14th 2012 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

        Much like Cooper the other week saying the All Blacks played the best game of their careers Polota-Nau is just trying to soften the blow if the Argies pack dominate them this weekend. They think we eat up everything they tell us as gospel.
        Imo the All Blacks forwards dominated the second half when they actually started playing the tight game.

    • September 14th 2012 @ 9:32am
      Tui said | September 14th 2012 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      Best in the comp? please.

    • September 14th 2012 @ 9:35am
      Scott Adams said | September 14th 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      Getting the excuses in early. Good move.

      • Roar Guru

        September 14th 2012 @ 11:23am
        HardcorePrawn said | September 14th 2012 @ 11:23am | ! Report

        My first thought on reading this too. It almost sounds like Tatafu is ‘managing expectations’ (to use some business parlance); i.e. ‘Don’t expect us to win this easily, or even win at all.’

        I have a hunch that Australia will win this one though, but with the onus on the Wallabies to deliver a decent performance and result, and the Pumas pack being what it is, it might be a case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.

        I’m really looking forward to this I must say, let’s hope that Nine don’t shaft us Melbourne viewers again!

        • September 14th 2012 @ 9:50pm
          liam said | September 14th 2012 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

          buddy. did you just refer to the wallabies pack as an irresistable force? hahahahahah!

    , ,