Dave Rennie is challenging his Wallabies to prove themselves as something at least close to the real deal with a watershed win over the inspired Pumas on Saturday night.
Australia can put one hand on the Tri-Nations trophy with a victory at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium.
But winning back-to-back tests has proven elusive, not just for Rennie in his first year in charge but for the Wallabies also under his predecessor Michael Cheika – who’s now working with Argentina.
It’s been more than a year – and 12 tests ago – since Australia recorded successive victories over tier-one nations, and more than three years since they chalked up three wins in a row against all-comers.
Rennie is well aware consistency remains the Wallabies’ Achilles heel and expects improvements.
Triumphant over the All Blacks last start, Rennie’s men will claim Tri-Nations honours with wins in their remaining two games, both against the Pumas fresh off their own hoodoo-busting success against New Zealand.
“It’s a massive game for a lot of reasons,” Rennie said.
“We’ve got to get better. The boys are working hard and we saw evidence of that in the last test but we need to take another step up now.
“I’m well aware of how good Argentina were last week and it’s chance for us to show that we are developing and getting better and a win would put us in a pretty strong position.”
The coach is demanding the Wallabies play with the same passion and heart as the Pumas showed in beating the All Blacks for the first time ever last start, while not necessarily wanting tears from his troops during the playing of Australia’s national anthem.
View this post on Instagram
“Those sort of Latin American sides are passionate and they’re prepared to show that,” Rennie said of the Pumas, whose players broke down during Argentina’s anthem last Saturday.
“Our challenge is to take away that emotion and take away the crowd and the noise that they’re going to make and so on.
“I’m not asking our players to be more emotional. We’re very proud of who we represent and what we play for, but we’ll show that in a different fashion.
“We want the Australian rugby public and the Australian public to believe in us and to be proud of us, and the only way you do that is through performance.
“So what we’ve done is put in a pretty solid 80 minutes (against the All Blacks).
“That doesn’t count for a lot if we don’t back it up.”
– Darren Walton
Listen to the latest episode of the Aotearoa Rugby Pod below:
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now