Wallabies coach Dave Rennie says he expects a spirited and unwavering Los Pumas outfit when the sides meet on Saturday evening in Townsville.
Argentina are yet to win in this year’s Rugby Championship while the Wallabies sit one point behind South Africa on the ladder, with New Zealand unbeaten through four rounds.
Having drawn both their matches in last year’s competition, Rennie’s current crop of players and Los Pumas share distinct similarities with both teams boasting a healthy balance of Test veterans and exuberant youth.
After watching video from Argentina’s previous matches with the All Blacks, Rennie knows a side with nothing to lose can be as dangerous as any.
“They are a bit different, they’ll want to express themselves, their forwards throw a hell of a lot more passes. They’ll counter when given the opportunity – they’re very good at it,” he said on Thursday.
“They’re also really good at filling the field, very disciplined around the defence and it can be hard to break down.
“The All Blacks, lots of points came from a little bit of individual brilliance – you beat someone you get an offload away and they score.
“What we’ve learnt over the last few weeks is you’ve got to hang on in the fight for a long time and sometimes it takes 60 or 70 minutes to crack a side, so we need to see that resilience on the weekend.”
Part of the Wallabies’ focus this week has been diffusing the high-ball from kicks, a tactic employed by the Springboks to edge their way down the field and force errors.
For replacement fullback Reece Hodge it was the only blight on his game as kick after kick came soaring towards him with the fullback unable to gather on numerous occasions.
Rennie expects the same traffic in those channels come Saturday but believes it will be a tactic used against Australia for some time.
“Every other team we play from now on (will utilise the high ball),” he said.
“We’ve given them pretty easy access around us to get to our jumpers which creates a contest in the air.
What we know is we can legally get them on the outside shoulder, run next to them shoulder to shoulder and deny them access in.
“We’ve done a pretty poor job around that, we’ve done a lot of work on it, we haven’t seen that transfer.
“If we can’t secure the ball in the air it’s an opportunity lost.”
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