Rugby Championship: Argentina vs. Australia – Preview and Betting Tips

The following article previews this weekend’s Rugby Championship clash between Los Pumas and the Wallabies at Estadio Gigante de Arroyito in Rosario, Argentina. The game kicks off at 10:10 AM AEDT on Sunday, the 7th of October. The referee is Craig Joubert from South Africa. While the Rugby Championship isn’t on the line, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will want a strong performance ahead of the final Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane later in the month.

Recent History

The Wallabies came from behind to beat the Pumas 23-19 on the Gold Coast in Round 4. Argentina have a record of fading in the last twenty minutes in the Rugby Championship and that Test was a prime example. Tries in the 60th, 69th and 79th minutes brought Australia back from the brink to avoid a major upset.

Australia’s win on the Gold Coast extends their winning streak to five Tests against Argentina. The Wallabies last lost to the Pumas in 1997. Argentina are a much tougher beast on home soil however. Three of their four wins over Australia have come in Argentina.



The Pumas have named an unchanged starting XV, with three changes to the bench.

15-Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14-Gonzalo Camacho, 13-Marcelo Bosch, 12-Santiago Fernandez, 11-Horacio Agulla, 10-Juan Martin Hernandez, 9-Martin Landajo; 8-Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), 7-Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6-Julio Farias Cabello, 5-Patricio Albacete, 4-Manuel Carizza, 3-Juan Figallo, 2-Eusebio Guinazu, 1-Rodrigo Roncero

Reserves: 16-Agustin Creevy, 17-Juan Pablo Orlandi, 18-Leonardo Senatore, 19-Tomas Leonardi, 20-Nicolas Vergallo, 21-Nicolás Sánchez, 22-Juan Imhoff


The Wallabies have been further hit by injuries after the Pretoria Test last week.

Digby Ioane, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Radike Samo suffered knocks in the second half but appear to have recovered sufficiently and should be available. Berrick Barnes and Adam Ashley-Cooper have been ruled out, however. Mike Harris will start at fullback in place of Barnes while Ben Tapuai will replace Ashley-Cooper at outside-centre. In one other change to the backs, Western Force’s Nick Cummins will take Dom Shipperley’s place on the wing. Cummins will become the 11th player in 2012 to make his Test debut for the Wallabies. Mike Harris will take over the kicking duties in Barnes’ absence.

In the forwards, Sitaleki Timani returns at blindside-flanker, with Dave Dennis dropping to the bench. James Slipper will start at loosehead prop with Benn Robinson starting from the bench.

15-Mike Harris, 14-Nick Cummins, 13-Ben Tapuai, 12-Pat McCabe, 11-Digby Ioane, 10-Kurtley Beale, 9-Nick Phipps, 8-Radike Samo, 7-Michael Hooper, 6-Sitaleki Timani, 5-Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4-Kane Douglas, 3-Ben Alexander, 2-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1-James Slipper

Reserves: 16-Saia Faingaa, 17-Benn Robinson, 18-Dave Dennis, 19-Scott Higginbotham, 20-Liam Gill, 21-Brett Sheehan, 22-Dom Shipperley

Match Preview

Injuries are primary issue for the Wallabies after they picked up additional knocks and absentees in their five tries to one drubbing in South Africa. In all, 38 players have represented Australia in 2012 with only Nathan Sharpe and Digby Ioane playing in every Test. Despite picking up a few knocks and making the nine hour flight to Argentina, the Wallabies must find a way to lift this week because they were dominated at the breakdown and set pieces in Pretoria – two of Argentina’s strong points. Selectors have obviously targeted these areas for this Test, opting for a larger overall squad and a 921kg pack. This strategy could backfire, however, if they can’t match the Pumas’ speed at getting to the breakdown. Fullback Mike Harris will have his work cut out for him, facing plenty of high balls and a pacey Argentinian back three.

The All Blacks managed to take the crowd out of the game last week by getting on top of the Pumas fairly early and the Wallabies will have to do the same. This is easier said than done, however, because in their three Tests prior to last week the Pumas hadn’t conceded a try in the first half.

After opting for a forwards-dominated approach in the first four rounds, Argentina chose to pass the ball around against the All Blacks, and while they were pummelled in the end, they did initially pose a few problems for New Zealand. The Pumas’ scrum and set pieces are solid, and they have a number of players who are tactically strong kickers. When you combine this with passionate home support, you can understand why the Wallabies have been labelled the underdogs for this fixture. Apart from the battle at the breakdown, the Wallabies back three will no doubt be put under a lot of pressure by the Argentinian kicking game and their performance will have a major bearing on the outcome of this Test.


Rugby Championship OddsThe Wallabies opened as 2.05 underdogs with most bookmakers but have shortened since then. Interestingly, there is a fair bit of disparity between bookmakers at the time of writing. Pinnacle Sports are offering 2.03 on Australia while Sportsbet and IASbet are offering 1.90.

I find this Test hard to predict. Both sides are coming off punishing defeats. The Wallabies are struggling with injuries while the Pumas may have run out of steam after Round 4. The disparity in bookmaker odds at the moment suggests that punters and bookmakers in general are struggling to identify how this game will play out. Even the four 1-12 and 13+ margin scenarios are all feasible, so I’m not convinced taking both sides 1-12 is a sure thing. Given the frailty of both sides’ defences last week, my best bet is to back the total score over 40.5 with bet365 at 1.91 odds.

A comparison of live bookmaker odds for the Pumas v Wallabies Test can be found in the Live Odds section.


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