Saturday, September 7, 2013

Argentina eye third place after pushing New Zealand in Hamilton

Photo: ESPN Scrum Leguizamón celebrates with Agulla and Fernández
Just like in the Rugby World Cup 2011 Quarter Final and the 2012 Rugby Championship matches in Wellington and La Plata the first try of today´s match in Hamilton was scored by Argentina. But similar to two of the three mentioned recent tests Argentina proved to be highly competitive for the majority of the match before the All Blacks broke clear in the final quarter. 

With the scores at 18-13 in New Zealand´s favor the All Blacks scored the decisive try with left winger Julian Savea scoring the 53rd minute. The try came from pressure as Argentina was stuck in its half and Martín Landajo looked to clear with a box-kick but had it charged down. The referee deemed that the All Blacks were onside but the incident was questionable with Kieran Read appearing to be in front of the last foot on his side of the ruck upon moving forward to challenge Landajo. But whether or not Read was in a legal position or not it, nontheless, made up for Juan Leguizamón scoring a first half try after the All Blacks lost the ball through a basic error in the first half from debutant Francis Salili. Leguizamón´s try was, as against South Africa in Mendoza, the opening score of the match.

Read was the man of the match not only for his role in creating Savea´s try but also for his general play and for off-loading to Aaron Smith for the first of his two tries. The pass will likely be the feature of play´s of the week worldwide as it was around the back of the Pumas defender and seemingly done without vision. It occured with Argentina being one player down. Eusebio Guiñazú had been yellow carded in the 22nd minute and without him Smith scored tries in the 23rd and 26th minutes. With Argentina back to fifteen players New Zealand would have to wait until the 53rd minute. In between hand Dan Carter had kicked one penalty and Nicolás Sánchez two. The try made it 25-13 and a late penalty to Carter´s replacement Beauden Barrett made he final score 28-13.

There was a lot of anger shown towards the referee for not yellow carding Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe in the final minutes. Had the match have not been sealed already it is likely to speculate that Corcho would have had his match ended early. It was certainly a yellow card incident but the All Blacks were lucky yo not have had their captain, Richie McCaw, yellow carded. McCaw was playing offside with regualrity and going much further than merely pushing the boundaries of the law. He left the field early, albeit through injury.

Argentina also had a player repalced through injury as Gonzalo Camacho left with a dislocated shoulder. He was replaced by Lucas González Amorosino who could very well start in the next test on the wing. Santiago Phelan has talked about rotating players and, indeed, justified Santiago Fernández starting ahead of Frlipe Cotnepomi against New Zealand for this very reason. Argentina will have the better of Australia up front in Perth but Australia´s backlin remains as strong as ever. To combat it Argentina would be well placed to unleash its attacking wingers with González Amorosino and Juan Imhoff being the starting wingers.

The wing positions are likely to be evaluated as soon as Sunday with Argentina knowing it has perfect chance to win a test in Australia for the first time since 1983. The Wallabies series loss against the British and Irish Lions saw Australian coach Robbie Deans replaced but the results have since been worse. Australia enters its final home match of the season with no points to its name in the Rubgy Championship. Argentina has one, the bonus point secured in Mendoza. In other words, Australia is now playing to avoid the wooden spoon and it still has to play in both Cape Town and Rosario.

Of note for Australia will be Argentina´s scrum. The bajada saw the South Americans win penalties and out play the All Blacks. It is an indication of Argentina´s quick adjustment to the new scrum engagement law and it certainly implies that the feared Argentine scrum may be alive again. Argentina was able to out play  the world´s number one side in the scrum without Patricio Albacete. The Toulouse second-rower remains in Argentina recovering ahead of the home matches against New Zealand and Australia in La Plata and Rosario. 


  1. No mention of the reason this match was close? It was the weather that prevented this from being a bigger loss.

    Very similar to last year's game, yet again Argentina couldn't threaten to win without looking like scoring a try.

    I wish some fans wouldn't overrate the importance of the result of these sort of matches against New Zealand. Phelan kept his job from the 2011 game, but I would have rather he kept it from more consistent performances and wins against sides like France, Ireland and England.

    It's nice not to get thrashed, but it will mean nothing in my opinion unless it is backed up in the winnable match vs Australia.

  2. Although I would agree with you that the weather certainly upset the ABs game it would not be foolish to suggest that ARG looked a whole lot better than last year and light years ahead from Soweto.
    I thought their handling of the ball, when they got it, was nearly as good as the ABs.
    Instead of the weather you should be talking about the in-consistent way of play that is starting to pan out.

    Out of their depth in RSA

    Good line out, no scrum; Mendoza

    Good scrum, no lineout; Hamilton

    Argentina gifted trys to New Zealand because Guinazu and a charge down on Landajo. New zealand didn't look that great for the second game in a row. With the perfect error free game that the ARG players were talking about this game may have gone the other way?
    Sadly they'll probably lose next week. McKenzie got a job to keep!

  3. I think it's a bit of stretch don't you think to say that the Pumas have a winnable match in Australia where it took South Africa how many years to win there ? Since 1972 ??

    Far more objective and an indicator of the fantastic job Santiago Phelan has been doing with the Pumas:

    "I think they're a good rugby side. They're growing into this competition.

    They've probably got the hardest job of all four teams. They've got most of their players in the northern hemisphere, and they don't get too much of an opportunity to get that reconditioning window you get at the end of a season because they're coming straight into a June window."

    1. You I'm afraid know very little about rugby if you believe all that.

      Of course Australia away is a winnable match. That much is palpable just by watching last year's match. Oh and SA won there in last in 2009 and Australia have rarely been as vulnerable as they are now.

      Ugh ... and Phelan has won 2 matches in 5 years as coach against top 8 opposition. I don't rate that as "a fantastic job".

      And I don't see Europe based players as any sort of excuse either, the RC team doesn't play June so that point is a non starter.

      Argentina are a good side, no need to set such low standards that fluking your way past Scotland in the RWC and 40 point defeats to Ireland are okay.

    2. Last year's match was a lucky match. They should have been 3 tries down if it hadn't been for some magnificent clutch tackling, including one tackle by camacho inside the try line.

      You are not listening. It took South Africa how many years to finally win one there ? Since 1972 ?

      And now Argentina on their second year of the 4Nations, with about 15 first rate professionals -if that- who don't even play in the Southern Hemisphere and don't even have a June window are supposed to just trot into a Wallabie home field advantage and win the game...jajajaj....pretty funny.

      But I guess Hansen doesn't have the slightest idea what he is talking about. The deluded fellow just happened to get picked out of a fortune cookie hat and his name popped to coach the greatest rugby team in the history of rugby..jajaj Yeah.

      I guess it doesn't count at all that in June the Wallabies were playing the Lions, an amazing Lions team, while the Pumas were playing with rubber bands around their ankles in world rugby meca Pensacola, Florida.

      And I guess it doesn't count that Australia has five pro teams in the most challenging and suicidal rugby league in the world and Argentina that pay monthly club fees and train twice a week and have to balance university studies, girlfriends, family, job, and weekend rugby, jajaj.

      I guess it doesn't matter that at any time of the year Australia has about 150 professional rugby players to choose from that could just about start in any national rugby team of the world and still be in the top 4 or 5.

      But that's ok, yes, the Pumas should just waltz into Australia and win where the 2nd ranked team in the world hasn't won since 1972 and, let's not forget, Hansen has no idea what he is talking about, too.

    3. P.S. "The R.C. doesn't play June so that't a non starter".

      So if, in your expert opinion then, it doesn't make a difference if in June one team is getting ready to play with rubber bands around their ankles and another is getting ready to play with la creme de la creme of Wales, England, Ireland, and Scotland ?

      Can we talk about this a little bit more, please ?

    4. I said it's a "winnable" fixture you idiot. That's different from an easy walkover.

      I have no idea what you're on about with South Africa in 1972 either. They beat both NZ and Aus away in 2009 and have just thrashed Australia.

      As for last year's match, Argentina got a 10 point lead and put themselves in a winning position and then proceeded to lose it. That was absolutely a winnable match.

    5. Hey, there is no need to get personal here, mate. It's just a game ! I am aware that they just got beat by South Africa, but that was the point, they had not won in Brisbane since 1972.

      So, that's pretty interesting don't you think, that the last time South Africa won in Australia was FOUR years ago ???? Hmmm. And how long has South Africa been ranked in the top THREE teams of the world and playing this tournament with 5 SUPER RUGBY teams ?

      But the Pumas on the SECOND year of their 4Nations, without a professional rugby structure, without a June window, are now EXPECTED to win - an away from home game no less - against Australia, the #4 ranked team in the world, not so long ago #2 ???

      That's pretty harsh don't you think ???? Or this other latest pearl of yours:

      "As for last year's match, Argentina got a 10 point lead and put themselves in a winning position and then proceeded to lose it."

      And then there's this other thing that you say that is pretty astonishing and incredibly disengenous:

      "The R.C. doesn't play June so that't a non starter"

      Would you like to comment on that please ??

    6. Ugh. You are a tiresome thicko now repeating points that I already addressed but I will try once more, but I will try one more time.

      I said it was a "winnable" game. Definition: possible to win or achieve. That doesn't mean they are expected to win or are favourites, it means they have a chance. And it's certain that the side will know this.

      As for the other points, they are irrelevant to this particular match. What has past Australia vs SA fixtures in Brisbane got to do with Australia vs Argentina? The grand total of nothing. The only relevant Brisbane fixture was the last one which the current team played in.

      And last year's match was winnable. They certainly had a chance to win that and after going 10 points up they were in a position to do so but couldn't quite close it out.

    7. The South Africa-Australia fixtures and the fact that South Africa had not beaten the Wallabies in FOUR years in Australia, and in Brisbane in particular, since 1972, are all pretty solid INDICATORS of just how difficult it is to win a game in Australia.

      Which you say the Pumas, in the second year of the 4Nations, are expected to accomplish, which is absolutely ridiculous.

      And it is harsh. Because you are setting up a team that has no professional league of their own, no June window (which you say doesn't make a difference), and is playing the 4Nations for only the SECOND time in their recorded history, for failure.

      Let me tell you something real. Australia against South Africa had 57 % possesion, had twice the carries and passes that South Africa had. And twice as many offloads, too. The difference was really in the turn overs and at the breakdown.

      Which how much you wanna bet will be much improved next weekend ?

      Australia's forwards are every bit as tough or more than the Argentinian forwards. All of them are gizzeled, hardened veterans who know how to play rugby in the best and most dynamic and most powerful league in the world. Come Saturday, with their backs against the wall, they are going to be ready. There are not going to be so many errors. They will attack the breakdown. And their scrum, how much you wanna bet, will even out with ours.

      So let's no kid ourselves, BEH, ok ? To say that anything less than a victory against a 'winnable' australia -at home !- by the Pumas would be a dissapointment is the same as setting up the team up for failure, which you consistently do in this blog, by the way.

    8. You are still failing to grasp what the term "winnable" means, despite me leaving the definition above, just how stupid are you?

      Nobody has even said they are "expected to win", merely that a win is an attainable goal. It's only you that keep repeating that. If Argentina play to their potential they can win this game, and indeed nearly did last year.

      Australia and South Africa's history in Brisbane has little relevancy. Australia were two time world champions in the 1990's and have been far better than they are now.

  4. Scrum was good but you forgot to mention the lineout woes that effectively dented any advantage Argentina had in the scrums. Hope Creevy starts the next match. Even with him and the taller Galarza on in the 2nd half and an improvement the Pumas still stuffed up several ineouts on or inside the ABs 22m line which meant they were never able to put any concerted pressure on in attack. As the NZ commentators also commented on, it was strange to see the Pumas also not do lineout mauls from lineouts which is usually a key Puma weapon and would've been perfect for the conditions. Instead they continually tried to throw to the back and get ball off the top when it wasn't a night for doing that. So tactically they got the lineouts wrong not going to the front and middle. Fernadez-Lobbe lucky to stay on as it was such a blatant foul but the ref should've also earnt the Pumas ire as I'm also sure the ABs were not onside for either of the chargedowns of landajo's kicks and the ref also missed a couple of other things (ABs attacking 5m lineout knock-on etc) that left Argentina worse off or deprived them of an opportunity. So I think the Pumas have every right to feel a bit ticked off with referee Garces' 2nd half performance (1st half was actually very good).