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The changes the Wallabies need to make to beat Argentina

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Roar Guru
23rd July, 2019
102
4226 Reads

The Springboks beat the Wallabies by dominating the breakdown and the gain line, both in attack and defence, via their driving forwards.

The game plan was to kick for territory and line-outs, and play off the No.9 and No.10 as playmakers. Playing off the No.9 meant you could push the rush defence back near the ruck and then go wide off the No.10.

In defence, the Wallabies used the rush defence themselves, but the No.10 needed to have variety in their attack by both playmaking as well as kicking behind the rush defence.

Australia also should have employed a 6/2 bench to provide impact in power and pace, rather than simply injury cover in the last quarter.

This is the side I would have picked:
1. James Slipper
2. Folau Fainga’a
3. Allan Alaalatoa
4. Rory Arnold
5. Izack Rodda
6. Luke Jones
7. Liam Wright
8. Isi Naisarani
9. Nic White
10. Matt Toomua
11. Tom Banks
12. Samu Kerevi
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. James O’Connor
15. Reece Hodge

16. Jordan Uelese
17. Scott Sio
18. Taniela Tupou
19. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
20. Rob Valetini
21. Michael Hooper
22. Will Genia
23. Kurtley Beale

The differences selected side include Jones instead Salakaia-Loto, Wright instead of Hooper, Matt Toomua instead of Bernard Foley and O’Connor instead of Dane Haylett-Petty.

Salakaia-Loto is a power lock replacement on the bench instead of a starting No.6. Lukhan would have provided more impact than the grinder Rob Simmons off the bench. The line-out with four jumpers was of sufficient quality without Simmons, who did not provide any impact.

Wright is a genuine breakdown exponent instead of Hooper, who has not been effective against the Springboks for years – even being ragdolled against SA Super Rugby teams.

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That proved to be true this game as well, since the Wallabies were yet again dominated at the breakdown and were unable to get the ball back from the Springboks when they decided to hold onto it.

Bernard Foley provided very little variety in attack for the Wallabies. He only kicked three times against a rushing defence. He did not provide cut-out passes and was too predictable. The Springboks also nullified his support play by tackling him after he passed the ball. In defence, he missed a number of tackles.

Toomua would have defended better and provided more variety just with his kicking even if he didn’t create any plays or pass better.

Haylett-Petty made error after error. It is predictable since he is a very poor winger at international level. I cannot imagine even a bulked-up O’Connor playing worse.

O’Connor would have added an attacking spark in the back three that was missing, and he would have added the playmaking dimension that was badly needed.

It is hard to judge whether the power forward bench I selected would have had a significant impact, but the chosen replacement forwards didn’t add much either.

Cobus Reinach

(CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP/Getty Images)

On to Argentina, and the tweaks Australia needs to make to combat the strengths and exploit the weaknesses of the Pumas.

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Argentina are similar to the Springboks in that they are very strong at the breakdown and the line-out. They also use a good rush defence and are good kickers of the ball, but not as good in contesting the high ball.

However, Argentina are different in attack, using mobile forwards and keeping the ball alive via deft offloads and good passing. They run at gaps and pass in front like all good back line attacks. They are very fast in the back three.

Their weaknesses are the scrum and maul in attack and defence, and the back row is quite suspect in defence and miss a lot of tackles, but their cover defence is very good.

Australia should retain the same tight five to score tries from mauls and try and force penalties from scrums rather than use them for quick ball. Argentina are quicker so it would be hard to gain an advantage that way.

The No.9 should be a playmaking focus in attack around the ruck against the suspect defence and force back the rush defence and to get behind them.

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I would swap Slipper and Sio to improve the maul since this would be a weapon. To counter the mobility of Argentina, I would start Hooper instead of having him on the bench.

However, to retain a breakdown presence, I would move Wright to No.6 and Jones to the bench as a lock replacement. Naisarani is kept to take advantage of the back row’s defence.

Marika Koroibete would start at No.11 to introduce more pace and a direct attack. James O’Connor would be moved to No.15 to add a playmaking dimension. Hodge would be moved to the bench.

The bench this time is to provide mobility rather than power.

The team I would select against Argentina is…
1. Scott Sio
2. Folau Fainga’a
3. Allan Alaalatoa
4. Rory Arnold
5. Izack Rodda
6. Liam Wright
7. Michael Hooper
8. Isi Naisarani
9. Nic White
10. Christian Lealiifano
11. Marika Koroibete
12. Samu Kerevi
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Tom Banks
15. James O’Connor

16. Jordan Uelese
17. James Slipper
18. Taniela Tupou
19. Luke Jones
20. Jack Dempsey
21. Will Genia
22. Reece Hodge
23. Kurtley Beale

If Lealiifano is still injured, then Matt Toomua would be the No.10 since he has a more varied game than Bernard Foley and is a better defender.

Sio should be fit and if Alaalatoa is still injured I would start Tupou, and Kepu would come onto the bench.

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