Australia, 1/4 to win at Paddy Power, managed to stop the rot with victory over South Africa last weekend, but that game went down to the wire and they will get no let up from Argentina this weekend. This is sure to be an exciting game for rugby betting fans.
The Wallabies got off the mark 23-18, with the game going right down to the final seconds as defences dominated the second half and the victory was only confirmed when the TMO confirmed that the ball had been knocked on in the lead up to what would have been a late South African try.
Australia did well to hold out a South African onslaught in the last 10 minutes and they did all this without avid Pocock, Israel Folau and Adam Coleman, three key players in the side who may return to the field this Saturday.
The second half defensive sets were also impressive, with South Africa’s key finishers like Aphiwe Dyantyi, Cheslin Kolbe and Willie le Roux all denied the opportunities to change the game as they have in the past.
They will have to repeat that performance once again against an Argentina side that has had no problem cutting through opposition defences so far. Their summer was a very underwhelming one but the change in couches from Daniel Hourcade to Mario Ledesma and there has been far more to take from their three games in the Championship.
They pushed South Africa hard in their opener before beating them – and deservedly so – in Argentina and then they were much more competitive than a 46-22 defeat against New Zealand would have suggested last week.
Elton Jantjies had been struggling all summer before he went to Brisbane and had another poor game (along with a rare poor outing from Faf de Klerk), but Australia will be tested far more severely by Argentina’s attacking prowess.
The brilliance of Nicolas Sanchez, who also became the Pumas all-time top score last weekend created three tries for Argentina with two being expertly taken by Ramiro Moyano and Emiliano Boffelli. They give the Pumas real pace and with the sniping Matias Moroni at scrum half and Jeronimo de la Fuente and Matias Moroni in the centres, there’s plenty of threats for Sanchez to use against Australia once again.
The game was 18-14 to the hosts at one point and Argentina could have gone in ahead had it not been for a superb tackle from TJ Perenara that denied Matias Moroni a try that could have made it 15-14 to New Zealand if Argentina nailed the touchline conversion.
New Zealand’s sheer class saw them pull away, but the Pumas had a try disallowed and also had 67% of possession and 69% of territory in the second half. The attacking stats tell their own story; Despite a defeat of 24 points they ran for 476 metres, scored three tries, beat 30 defenders and made 10 offloads.
The scrum was a major issue for Argentina last week and might be an area where Australia look to expose some weaknesses although Australia lost three scrums on their own ball last week and the pressure on front rowers Nahuel Chaparro Tetaz, Agustin Creevy and Santiago Garcia Botta ought to be less exalted than it was last weekend.
Australia changed their attacking system against South Africa but the star man was Will Genia, whose control and vision played a big part in Australia’s game management as well as tries for Matt Hooper and Toomua.
Folau’s expected return is sure to be a gamechanger although neither he nor David Pocock was said to be training at 100% during the week. Argentina, who are 9/4 to win at Ladbrokes, should not fear either of them given how they pushed New Zealand, and whilst there is star quality in the Wallaby lineup, they have not been entirely cohesive in attack all summer.
Before last weekend they had an average of just 17.2 points per game across their six Test matches so far in 2018 - markedly down on last year's average of 31.1 – and whilst Kurtley Beale and Matt Toomua had good games this will be only their second game as a partnership.
Argentina are given a 10-point handicap which essentially becomes an 11-point handicap if one takes the no draw option that Betfair offer. The Pumas come here having scored at least 21 points in each of their games in the Rugby Championship and Australia have not scored more than 21 points so far in their game. Argentina were perhaps unlucky not to come closer to South Africa in their opener, as well.