PREVIEW-Rugby-Argentina look to build on Scotland win in Rugby Championship

The appointment of Australian Michael Cheika as head coach in March is a game-changer for them, bringing some structure to what is a talented, but at times gung-ho, squad of players. His experience of taking on New Zealand and South Africa during five years as coach of the Wallabies cannot be discounted, and he knows this Argentina squad well having been a consultant to the team since 2020.


Reuters | Updated: 03-08-2022 13:38 IST | Created: 03-08-2022 13:33 IST
PREVIEW-Rugby-Argentina look to build on Scotland win in Rugby Championship
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Argentina head into the Rugby Championship on the back of a morale-boosting 2-1 home series win over Scotland last month, some respite from a dismal run of results as they welcome Australia for back-to-back home games starting on Saturday.

The Pumas have won only three tests – with Italy their other victims – from the 12 they have played since the start of last year's southern hemisphere championship, which includes losing six out of six in that competition. The appointment of Australian Michael Cheika as head coach in March is a game-changer for them, bringing some structure to what is a talented, but at times gung-ho, squad of players.

His experience of taking on New Zealand and South Africa during five years as coach of the Wallabies cannot be discounted, and he knows this Argentina squad well having been a consultant to the team since 2020. The Pumas showed their Rugby Championship potential two years ago, beating New Zealand for the first time to complete their set of victories over their competition rivals. They also drew twice away with Australia.

Cheika will hope to rediscover that potency, backed by experience, and had former captain Agustin Creevy, 37, back in the mix against Scotland after the hooker previously played at the Rugby World Cup three years ago. Cheika has been able to recall a number of key players who were injured in the Scotland series, including captain Julian Montoya, scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli and flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez.

Prop Santiago Medrano, loose forward Joaquin Oviedo and centre Lucas Mensa will also bring quality. With the World Cup in France a little over a year away, it will be interesting to see how Cheika approaches the Rugby Championship.

Will he look to give chances to fringe players or stick with the core of what he thinks will be his match-day 23 next year? What is certain is that the form of versatile back Emiliano Boffelli will be important, with his ability to kick out of hand and attack from all angles.

As ever, the South Americans' fortunes may be determined by their discipline. They can ill-afford to give their opponents a numerical advantage but all too often that has been the case when they come under pressure. Cheika's biggest job may be to add a measure of composure to Argentina's obvious talent.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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