Wallabies aim to match Pumas passion
October 5, 2013
The Wallabies are also capable of playing with passion, says Ewen McKenzie © Getty Images
The Wallabies say the Pumas aren't the only team who can play with passion and they intend to prove that in their Rugby Championship clash in Rosario.
Much has been made of Argentina's pride in their jersey ahead of their Test at Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, where Australia will be desperate to crack their second win and avoid the tournament wooden spoon. Their only victory has come against Argentina; a 14-13 win in Perth last month.
But Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said the Pumas didn't corner the market on wanting to do well for their country and expected his own troops to rise to the occasion.
"It's not going to be a one-way street," McKenzie said. "We can deliver emotion as well; we saw good evidence of that last week (against South Africa)."
With legendary Argentine centre Felipe Contepomi setting a new record of Test caps with 87 in the match, which is his last before retirement, the Pumas have extra incentive to break through for their first ever win in the competition. However McKenzie said such a milestone could work against the home team on Saturday night (1am Sunday AEDT).
"You've got to be fired up and passionate but you've got to be cool under pressure and our job's to go out here and create pressure and see how they handle that side of it. Sometimes those things can be a bit of a distraction so we'll go out there steely-minded and quite purposeful about what we need to do."
The Pumas' menacing scrum rattled New Zealand in their meeting last weekend before the All Blacks' asserted themselves in the second half for a 33-15 win. And while the focus during this week's build-up has been on the forwards, the Wallabies are wary of the threat of Argentina's backline.
McKenzie said the danger of their backs, including his former Stade de Francais fullback Juan Martin Hernandez, as well as centre Marcelo Bosch and speedster Juam Imhoff, couldn't be discounted.
"Everyone talks about the battle up front but there's been a transition over the 18 months, there's a lot more effort into expressing themselves with their backline play. For a long period of time they played a very formula based game but they have been backing themselves in the last 18 months to play with the ball in hand. There's a real battle in the backline, it's not all about the forwards."
Follow live text commentary of the Test between Argentina and Australia on Saturday, October 5 from 1040pm (GMT) , 940am (AEDT, October 6)