|Créditos: Prensa UAR|
The fourth round match of the Rugby Championship between the Australian Wallabies and Argentine Pumas went the way of the home side. Australia's 32-27 victory sees Argentina retaining bottom spot in the four team competition. With a crowd of lower than 15,000 on Australia's Gold Coast it was a record low attendance. Australia is, like Argentina, interested, in bidding to host Rugby World Cup 2023. Australia has hosted two Rugby World Cups previously including being the solo host of the 2003 tournament. By way of comparison Argentina is the only Rugby World Cup Semi Finalists never to have been allocated hosting rughts to a Rugby World Cup.
The match played earlier today was a missed opportunity for Los Pumas. Although both teams crossed for three tries Australia's first two came from basic errors. Daniel Hourcade was quick to criticize his team. According to el huevo Argentina played its worst match of the tournament. Indeed Argentina's retention rate from previous tests was not seen on the Gold Coast as Australia had 75% possession and 80% territory.
Argentina's three tries, scored by Manuel Montero, Marcelo Bosch and Joaquín Tuculet, were all of note. Montero's first half effort was a reminder of his quality and also of the questionable selection policy of Pumas wingers throughout the period since, and approaching, Rugby World Cup 2011. As was the case against Ireland in June Montero scored in a manner which is rarely associated with a Pumas winger. His speed and strength saw him get past and brush off three would-be tacklers.
The converted try gave Argentina a 7-5 lead but Australia went ahead less than ten minutes later through a Bernard Foley penalty and would not be caught. Leading 24-10 in the 54th minute Argentina's chances appeared slim but smart thinking from replacement Tomás Cubelli created an opportunity which was taken in the left corner by Marcelo Bosch.
Seven minutes later Argentina scored again with Nicolás Sánchez setting up Joaquín Tuculet with a well taken chip-kick. At this point in the game Australia held a four point lead, which became seven with a Foley penalty. Argentina then had a prime opportunity to score firstly through Cubelli with ball in hand and then from an attacking scrum.
Argentina had an opportunity to draw or push for a win in the final minutes. An attacking scrum near the Wallaby try line had Argentina well positioned and with it going forward a chance of a try was very much strong. Instead Australia was awarded a free-kick with Cubelli being said to have taken too long in feeding the scrum. The Argentine reserve scrumhalf criticized New Zealand referee Glen Jackson saying ''it was completely unnecessary and had not been refereed at all earlier in the match''.
With Argentina having had a clear try denied last weekend by French referee Pascal Gauzere the manner in which Jackson handled the scrums only adds fuel to the fire to the emerging argument from members of the Argentine media that referees are prone to awarding 50/50 calls against Argentina. In addition to Senatore's lost try All Black Julian Savea escaped any sanction but Puma Tomás Lavanini was suspended for foul play. Both were decisions that could have gone either way but, like the Senatore try, went the way of the higher ranked side.
The allusive first Rugby Championship win remains a desire. There are still two opportunities this year with Argentina hosting New Zealand in La Plata and Australia in Mendoza. Over the coming days it will become clearer as to who will and will not need replacing based on fitness. Four Pumas picked up injuries on the Gold Coast. Injuries to Juan Manuel Leguizamón's (leg), Juan Martín Hernández's (knee ), Mariano Galarza (shoulder) and Leonardo Senatore (head) will be monitored over the coming days.