After a seemingly endless period of political one-upmanship and jockeying for position, Australia and New Zealand have finally arrived at a sensible compromise for Super Rugby 2021.
Winning ugly will do as the Wallabies look to complete a roller coaster Test season on Saturday night chasing only a second victory from six outings in 2020.
For all the promise and strides forward the Wallabies have made under New Zealand coach Dave Rennie, they have only one win, two deflating draws and two defeats to show for it.
Rennie concedes it’s been a year of lost opportunity and atoning for their last-start 15-15 stalemate with Argentina, a draw that cruelled their chances of winning the Tri Nations trophy, is paramount at Bankwest Stadium.
“We’ve had a couple of Tests that we should have won that we didn’t, so that’s frustrating,” Rennie said.
“But the key for me is that we learn from it.
“Our culture’s really good, we’re working really hard, but everyone wants to see that reflected on the field, and that’s what we want.
“A win on the weekend will mean we’ve got more to build on but certainly we had a chance of silverware if we’d got it right a couple of weeks ago, so that’s disappointing.”
A rare win over the All Blacks in Brisbane has been the high point for the Wallabies. The record 43-5 loss to their arch-rivals was the undoubted low.
But giving up a nine-point second-half lead against the Pumas burns almost as much.
Little wonder why Rennie is more concerned about his largely youthful and greenhorn Wallabies mastering the art of winning than worrying about any so-called obligation to entertain fans in the last Test of the year.
He accused his game managers of being “naive” in not kicking for the corners when the game was there to be won in Newcastle a fortnight ago.
So he doesn’t care how they beat the Pumas this time, so long as they do.
“We dominated a large chunk of that first half and created lots of scoring opportunities but we didn’t score tries,” Rennie said.
“What we’re trying to do is grow our understanding of how to win games and you get into games, especially with northern hemisphere sides that won’t play an enormous amount of footy, and you’ve got to find ways of winning.
“And sometimes that’s through smart kicking options that create opportunities to attack.
“So, look, we definitely want to play and we’ll certainly try to grow our game around our skill set.
“But I think we’ve got an obligation to put in a quality performance, not necessarily entertain by throwing the ball all over the place at the risk of losing the game.”