Wallabies coach Dave Rennie says his side will not fall into the same trap as the All Blacks when they face Argentina in Newcastle on Saturday.
Argentina are coming off a historic Test victory over the All Blacks, their first in 30 encounters with the New Zealanders, who also lost against the Wallabies two weeks ago.
Having had time to study last Saturday’s match, Rennie identified key areas that the Wallabies are going to have to nail if they are to break down a stubborn Argentina defence.
‘Argentina did a good job filling the field last week and when teams fill the field you’ve got to be prepared to go through the middle of them and squeeze them up and then play outside them,’ Rennie said during the team announcement media conference on Thursday.
‘I think the All Blacks tried to go through them all day, but they would look back at the footage I’d imagine and realise that they left a few points out there if they’d been able to mix the game up better. That’s our challenge. They defended really well. They’ve got big men, they were very good at slowing the ball down and then getting a wall in front of the All Blacks – our challenge is to generate quicker ball than that to create space on the outside.’
In particular, Rennie was surprised that the All Blacks did not kick as much against Argentina as they normally do in Test matches. The kicking game has become a traditional weapon for the All Blacks and as a general rule, when they outkick the opposition, they tend to win the game.
Rennie also emphasised that the Wallabies are going to have to keep their discipline as Argentina flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez is on form, having scored all 25 of his side’s points against New Zealand.
‘I think the Pumas are happy to play without the ball. They really dominated the kicking stats last week, which was surprising, so the All Blacks held on to a lot of ball and made errors and got punished.
‘We expect them to kick a lot to us and then try and get a wall in front of us, so we’ve got a plan around that. Our kicking game needs to be sharp. Our ability to generate quick ball will be really important. And then discipline’s going to be massive. They’re happy to go in threes, and if we make errors around discipline they can kick from a long way out or get their lineout going and their drive game which was pretty effective last week.’
Photo: EPA/DAN PELED