Argentina in search of historic win

The final round of the Rugby Championship takes place tomorrow and, with the All Blacks having already sealed the championship, attention turns to Argentina as they search for the first win of the championship against a bruised Australian side.

Argentina have the luxury of naming an unchanged side from their match against the All Blacks last week, while Australia have made five changes to their injury ravaged side.

Argentina played a far more open and expressive form of rugby in last week’s heavy defeat to New Zealand than we have been used to and, as Stuart Barnes explains in his Sky Sports blog, it is necessary for them to play that way for future success.

However, it was easier for them to play like that against the All Blacks as they were never likely to win anyway, whereas in this match they have a strong chance. Do not be surprised if they revert to type, trusting their breakdown skills and the boot of Hernandez to crush the Wallaby spirit.

Australia will be handing out their 11th first cap of the year as they hand winger Nick Cummins his debut. It has been a miserable season for the Wallabies, and they must be desperate to just get this game done before regrouping ahead of the Autumn Tests.

The All Blacks meanwhile travel to South Africa looking to complete a clean sweep of victories in the Rugby Championship and to stretch their unbeaten run to 16 Tests.

They recall winger Hosea Gear in place of Julian Savea despite his brace in Argentina last week, and also replace Luke Romano in the second row, bringing in Brodie Retallick.

South Africa have named the same starting team, and again do not even include Morne Steyn in the 22, meaning a second start for the Cheetah’s Johan Goosen.

It is a tough ask for South Africa though, even at home with 90,000 fans baying for All Blacks blood. The World Champions have looked far superior to the rest of the competition.


15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Martin Landajo; 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero

Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 18 Leonardo Senatore, 19 Tomas Leonardi, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Nicolas Sanchez, 22 Juan Imhoff


15 Mike Harris, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps; 8 Radike Samo, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Sitaleki Timani, 5 Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 James Slipper

Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Dave Dennis, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Dominic Shipperley

South Africa:

15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar; 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Pat Lambie

New Zealand:

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith; 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock

Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Tamati Ellison

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