Saturday, September 14, 2013

Argentina pay the price for failing to capitalize in Perth

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Photo UAR
Nine times out of ten that a team holds Australia scoreless in the second half of a test match means a victory for the opposition. But in Perth Argentina lost by one point as the Wallabies held on to win the match 14-13. Argentina ought to have won and the players know it. 

Argentina was less than impressed with referee Nigel Owens throughout as Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe had to constantly tell his players to keep it quiet. There were occassions when it was the South American players showing frustration at not being able to make plays while at other times there were instances when the referee appeared to not have seen Australian penalties which infuriated the Pumas players. In the first half, for instance, Scott Fardy was on the ground in a defensive ruck well inside his 22 and played the ball on the ground to win the ball for Australia illegally. It was a clear yellow card offence. Australia, instead kicked out of its 22 and was safe to the disbelief of Pumas players. 

In a game dominated by the wind and rain it was the team that had the wind at its back in both halves that was in control. In the first half it was Australia as the Pumas were stuck inside their own half and doing little mroe than defending. In the second half Argentina was in control but took too long to score points. When Juan Manuel Leguizamón scored in the 64th minute it had been twenty minutes of Argentina camped in the Australian half. Not knowing how to use the ball well to score more tries cost Argentina the victory during this period. Indeed New Zealand or Australia would be expectred to have scored twenty points or more. 

Lerguizamón´s try made it a one point game as Nicolás Sánchez converted and had also lanmded a second half penalty to make the scores 14-13 after Australia had held a 14-3 half time advantage. Australia´s try was scored by fullback Israel Folau after the Wallabies showed patience and spun the ball. Argentina, though, appeared yet to get into the game and the crucial play came at the end of the first half when Tomás Cubelli was penalized with time up. Christian Leal´ifano was able to land a simple penalty to see Australia leading by twelve rather than nine points at the break. Had the penalty not been given then Argentina would have won 13-11. 

A factor needing to be addressed is the breakdown. Australia was able to get to the tackle area faster and slow down Argentina´s ball. The Wallabies also won a number of turn overs in this area which aided the home side in holding on for victory. This will be addressed in the come days after Argentina´s players arrive back in Buenos Aires. Los Pumas now have two home tests and a good chance at winning for the first time. New Zealand may be without Dan Carter who was hurt in the game against South Africa.


  1. Already posted on your feed back page, but.......I'll say it again.

    It's easy to blame the ref and no doubt many will. However Lobbe was looking at his other experienced teams for decisions at crucial times.

    Very reminisant of ENG vs AUS (Robshaw) last year.
    Pumas deserved to lose and Lobbe had his worst game in this competition so far!

  2. Very disappointing. I don't like to criticise refs as they have a very hard job but even as a neutral observer I can say Nigel Owens was very poor right throughout the match. That also goes for Roman Poite. Refereeing does seem to be really blighting the championship this year. The Fardy incident was bad and even the penalty on full-time against the Pumas was bad because before Matera did his foul, Leguizamon was on his legs over the ball against the Australian player on the ground not releasing so Argentina should have received a penalty for that infringement.

    Of course Argentina despite both the ref and their own poor play were still very close to winning. The Cubelli penalty and the close miss of Sanchez's long range penalty could have changed the result.

    As far as the Pumas team was concerned, the last 20mins was tactically really poor. After getting a try back and being only one point down the message should've been crystal clear to play down Australia's end of the field and put the pressure on but it never happened with really poor kicking from both Landajo and Hernandez giving Australia the territorial advantage. Just what the hell was Hernandez thinking going for a chip kick in his own 22 with a big wind advantage at his back??!!

    Contemponi also made some poor decisions, particularly in the first half which just gifted hard-earned ball back to the Australians. Quite frankly those two senior veteran backs let the Pumas down big-time in Perth. And those are players you expect to know better when it comes to making decisions. I think the Pumas really missed Bosch.

    And I was none too impressed by Cubelli either. The penalty before half-time was very silly and as you say Paul gave the Wallabies a vital extra 3pt buffer. I was thinking if the Pumas can just keep it to 11-3 they will be looking pretty for the 2nd half and then my heart sank when Cubelli gave away that easy 3pts. However Landajo was even worse. His kicking was abysmal. Argentina really do have a big problem at halfback. They need to get a good one, and soon otherwise it might start to get like the Italian no10 problem! The one bright spot was probably the best game in a Pumas shirt for some time by Horacio Agulla.

    1. The Argentine scrum half situation isn't at all comparable to the Italian fly half situation.

      I also thought that Cubelli was controlling his forwards well with his short passing. I don't think the penalty was down to stupidity either as he didn't go for the ball or touch it, it was just an accident as opposed to a real brainfart.

      I don't see how Bosch was really missed that much either as well.

  3. I actually failed to mention Hernanadez's absymal game and that "look what I can do" chip kick when he should have been thinking about yards. Honestly the coaching staff need to look at other younger alternative as El Mago's best days have clearly gone!
    I didn't think Contepomi was that bad given the fact that the weather may have got to his usual smooth service with the ball. But it is clear that father time has definately caught up with him, as he was half a yard off the pace at times. Once again the coaching staff need to intergrate younger players throughout this tornament year after year, not older ones.

    Both scrum halves need to improve their game and they shouldn't feel so secure about their future as Ezcurra and Benardini from this year's junior RWC both looked promising.

    On a bright note Matera is definately putting his hand up with every game he plays, figallo is restoring the Bajadita single handedly and Sanchez, while not spectacular seems safe.

    2019 will be the break through!

    Paul what happened to Nic Bruzzone. He seemed like the "answer" during the 2011 vodacom cup. Darting runs, grubber kicks little big man tackles and running ( be good if you could find the video of him pulling that big natalsharks 15 player 5 yds on his shorts on the way to scoring a try), and then he went back to sevens!

    1. If Bruzzone was the "answer" then why did they select Landajo for all the important games of that tournament?

  4. Bruzzone played against all the big teams except the final and quarter final. Do a check mate! Bulls, Sharks, etc. Ladanjo did the the bit part except the final!

    1. So he didn't play in the most important match that decided the winner of the trophy? There is no greater indication that Landajo was the top scrum half in the team than that.

  5. Bruzzone is involved with the Argentine Sevens team but considered too old to be used in the post 2011 era. He turns 28 next month and his only test was against Chile in late 2007. He had initially been back-up to Vergallo before Lalani emerged in 2008 and Figuerola in 2009.

  6. But BEH did you see him in the sharks match. Didn't he look worth it.
    I know he has always been a sevens player but I would have liked to have seen him more at 15's
    Rodriguez, Amorosino and Fernandez all played on the same 2009 7's RWC team. But they went on to the "real" thing!