Wallabies look for big lift against Pumas
September 9, 2013
Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia attempts to break Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth's tackle © Getty Images
Ewen McKenzie believes confrontational Argentina are the perfect opponents for his besieged Wallabies to face and prove their worth following four straight defeats.
The Wallabies are licking their wounds and "circling the wagons" after their 38-12 drubbing by South Africa at Suncorp Stadium, which has left them last on the Rugby Championship table. The Pumas are also winless but have impressed in their past two losses against the Springboks and All Blacks and head to Perth confident of a maiden victory in the tournament.
McKenzie said the abrasive and highly physical Pumas presented another big challenge against his under-strength, inexperienced forward pack. "It's not an easy game at all," the coach said. "But it's the sort of game we need. We need a physical challenge to get ourselves right."
Missing injured captain James Horwill in the second-row, as well as a number of other enforcers, Australia have recalled powerhouse lock Sitaleki Timani to their squad and he could add grunt for the Patersons Stadium clash.
The Wallabies scrum has struggled to adapt to the new soft engagement laws and will face another tough assignment against the big Pumas pack.
Ewen McKenzie accepts the need for change%]
McKenzie is reviewing his tactics after admitting he might need to simplify Australia's game plan due to an abundance of errors in trying to probe for holes in the Springboks and All Blacks defensive lines. He's under pressure to deliver results as well as attractive rugby following Australia's record of just 22 tries in the past 21 Tests.
"Everyone is going to be a bit iffy about us this week," McKenzie said. "But I'm looking forward to the challenge of grabbing the rugby public back and showing that we're fair dinkum. I don't see this as insurmountable by any stretch. It's just a matter of getting the focus on the right things.
"Confidence is a big part of that. We'll circle the wagons and get on with the game next week."
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September