Saturday, 06 October 2018 03:46

Argentina – Australia

Argentina and Australia will try to avoid the wooden spoon when they meet in the last round of the 2018 Rugby Championship, in Salta.

Argentina has had a terrific Rugby Championship so far, claiming two wins in the first 5 games: against South Africa at home and against Australia away. They also had two relatively competitive games with New Zealand, although the All Blacks won by 18 and 22 without forcing too much. All in all the Pumas will feel good about themselves coming into this match, and they are definitely a different team under new coach Ledesma. They will have a golden chance to claim three wins for the first time ever in the tournament.

Unlike Argentina, Australia had a tournament to forget and will now attempt to avoid finishing last for the first time since the Rugby Championship was expanded to four teams. The Wallabies claimed just one win (at home against South Africa), and the atmosphere around Australian rugby is at an all time low. However, it has to be said that Australia wasn`t that bad. They have their problems, but they were also very unlucky in almost every game, and should have gotten at least one more win.

Team news & lineups:

Argentina will get back star winger Ramiro Moyano for this game, and they will make just two changes to the lineup which lost to New Zealand last week.

Australia will change only one player from the lineup which lost in South Africa last week, as they bring back Bernard Foley at No.10 and move Matt Toomua on the bench.

Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Australia: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio

Australia has been a nemesis for Argentina in the last decade, as the Wallabies won 15 of 16 meetings, including 6 blowouts in a row. But that run ended last month, when the Pumas got that shock win in Australia.

It is clear that there`s no place for underestimating this Argentinean side, and their inferiority complex / matchup problem against Australia should be over and gone.

That being said, it will be difficult for Argentina to play just one week after facing the All Blacks, and with just two changes in the lineup. It`s true that last month they won in Australia in the same circumstances (after facing the All Blacks), but they made more changes in the squad and lineup back then. Plus, this being the last round, matches have now piled up.

It has been an exhausting tournament for the Pumas, who put on an insane level of effort in each game, and they could now suffer phisically (maybe mentally in the last game), especially one week after working like dogs against the mighty All Blacks.

But the main thing here is that Australia is clearly underrated. The Wallabies really drew the short stick in this tournament, as they had various levels of bad luck in each of their defeats, including some horrid days from the kicking tee. They didn`t play badly against the All Blacks despite two blowout losses, they certainly didn`t deserve to lose at home to Argentina (missed a late try by a hair), and last week in South Africa again they compeded very well despite losing by 11. Australia dominated every statistic aside from territory and one could argue they should have even won that game. At the very least it should have been much closer if the Wallabies didn`t miss so many kicks at goal.

Both teams will be desperate to avoid the wooden spoon, but despite everything Australia remains the better and more talented side. The Wallabies will also be very happy to face a Pumas scrum which is in complete shambles right now. That will be key for Australians, as they were on the back foot in that department against New Zealand and South Africa, something which hurt them a lot. Today they should be competitive, or even dominate that battle.

With their backs against the wall and with Foley back at No. 10, the Wallabies have what it takes to defeat a solid Pumas side which might finally show some fatigue given their lack of depth. My tip is Australia to win. Prediction: Argentina – Australia 21 – 28.

Pick: Australia
Odds: 2.12 @ Unibet
Stake: 10
Possible profit: 11.20
Event date: 6 October

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