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Australia have no intention of easing up as they seek a fourth win in a row when they take on a depleted Argentina in the final round of The Rugby Championship at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 5:05pm (AEST).
The rugby world must have thought Wallabies coach Dave Rennie had captured the headlines when he confirmed that 38 year old Greg Holmes would be on the bench for Australia this weekend.
However Argentina weren’t to be topped and soon were confirming to the press that six of their players would be unavailable for selection because they had broken QLD border rules and had been forced to spend the night in NSW after not being allowed to return from a day trip to Byron Bay.
As a result, the Pumas are without some key names including backrower Pablo Matera and Santiago Medrano. Mario Ledesma has brought in forwards Enrique Pieretto and Rodrigo Bruni to replace these two as well as Rodrigo Martinez and Guido Petti. In the backs the only change is that Matias Moroni returns on the wing.
Santiago Carreras had a quiet game last time out against the Wallabies and he will be eager to impose himself much more in this test. His pack need to give him some quick, clean ball and then he needs to back himself like he did several times against the All Blacks back in Round Four.
From the Wallabies point of view. Holmes joining the bench has certainly excited many. The prop hasn’t played since 2016 and made his debut in 2005 when Eddie Jones was coach. But Holmes isn’t Rennie’s only interesting selection for the clash with Argentina.
Jordan Petaia has been given a starting spot and with the competition for a spot in the back three already challenging, Petaia is going to have to have a very good game. According to Rennie, there’ll be a very specific area that he’ll be assessing the young Queenslander on. “He’s got a great skill set, but he’s got to work a lot harder off the ball,” explained Rennie this week.
Darcy Swain has earned a starting spot after a good performance off the bench last week as has Pete Samu and Sean McMahon will make an appearance off the bench after having last played for the Wallabies in November 2017.
Rennie seems to be handling a number of moving parts very well currently. He’s built a sense of identity and momentum within the current squad and picked up 3 good wins so far that will likely become four for the tournament. He’s also rotating players well but making those who want a starting spot, genuinely earn it and he’s also blending back some players who have been missing for various reasons into the fold with smoothness and success.
It has been a tough competition for Argentina. The obvious challenges of touring during COVID have been made worse by disappointing performances on the pitch and diplomatic frustrations off of it.
Unfortunately it’s not going to get any better today and the Wallabies will earn a good win through continuing to play with composure and confidence.
Wallabies by 12.
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Kick-off: 5:05pm (AEST)
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: Australia $1.09, Argentina $7.20 – odds via PlayUp
Referee: Jaco Peyper
1. James Slipper, 2. Folau Fainga’a, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Izack Rodda, 5. Darcy Swain, 6. Pete Samu, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Nic White, 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Andrew Kellaway, 12. Samu Kerevi, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Jordan Petaia, 15. Reece Hodge
16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Matt Philip, 20. Sean McMahon, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. James O’Connor, 23. Tom Wright
1. Rodrigo Martinez, 2. Julian Montoya (c), 3. Enrique Pieretto, 4. Guido Petti, 5. Tomas Lavanini, 6. Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7. Marcos Kremer, 8. Rodrigo Bruni, 9. Gonzalo Bertranou, 10. Santiago Carreras, 11. Emiliano Boffelli, 12. Santiago Chocobares, 13. Lucio Cinti, 14. Matias Moroni, 15. Juan Cruz Mallia
16. Facundo Bosch, 17. Thomas Gallo, 18. Eduardo Bello, 19. Matias Alemanno, 20. Francisco Gorrissen, 21. Gonzalo Garcia, 22. Domingo Miotti, 23. Mateo Carreras