Pile into the ruck with Rugby Union tips as the Argentina juggernaut faces off against the Wallabies in Newcastle, both sides having beaten the All Blacks in the past fortnight.
19:45 (AEDT), Sat 21st Nov @ McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
History: Played 32: Australia 25 V Argentina 6 (1 Draws)
Last meeting: July 27, 2019: Australia 16 d Argentina 10 at Suncorp Stadium
Final Thoughts: After a week’s rest following four straight showdowns with the All Blacks, the Wallabies confront a new – but equally daunting – challenge in the form of Argentina, the new toast of world rugby.
The Pumas overwhelmed the ABs, who were 20.5-point favourites, 25-15 – their maiden win over the game’s preeminent superpower.
In any circumstances, an Argentina win over NZ would be a huge deal. But given it was the Pumas’ first competitive hit-out of a 2020 season spiked with obstacles and hardships, it rates as one of the all-time great Test performances.
Argentina, with Michael Cheika in the box supporting coach Mario Ledesma, were extraordinary in defence. They held the All Blacks try-less until the 53rd minute and only conceded a second five-pointer after the fulltime hooter.
Meanwhile, No.10 Nicolas Sanchez added the poise and polish to the Pumas’ hearty display, scoring all 25 points – including his fourth try in his last six Tests against New Zealand.
The boilover overshadowed the Wallabies’ momentous result seven days earlier. A draw in Wellington had given way to heavy defeats to the All Blacks in Auckland (27-7) and Sydney (43-5). But they were superb in a gritty 24-22 win in Brisbane.
Contentious flyhalf selection Reece Hodge was excellent in the upset and has retained his spot in an unchanged backline. But the injured James Slipper has been replaced up front by Scott Sio, while Ned Hanigan replaces the suspended Lachlan Swinton.
Argentina no strangers to success Down Under
The Pumas have rolled the Wallabies six times in 32 Test encounters – twice on Australian soil. Argentina’s 23-19 victory on the Gold Coast in 2018 was their first in Australia since 1983, however, and just their second over the Wallabies in 19 clashes since 1997.
Australia grinded out a 16-10 win over Argentina at Suncorp Stadium in last year’s truncated Rugby Championship.
This is just the second Test the Wallabies have played in Newcastle. Fans will have painful memories of the inaugural match in the Hunter Valley, losing 9-6 to Scotland in 2012.
Argentina’s watershed performance last week has narrowed the head-to-head market. Australia are $1.48 favourites giving up a 5.5-point start. But although the Pumas have a challenge on their hands coming down from the euphoria of their All Blacks win – and combating the well-rested Wallabies’ renewed confidence. However, the gutsy visitors still look the best bet against the line and are a huge chance of another victory.