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'I'm not going to come out and say that that's a realistic score' - Wallabies concede that the Tri Nations title race is over


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Darren Walton

The Wallabies concede they face a tall order beating the Pumas by 101 points to steal the Tri Nations trophy from under the All Blacks‘ noses.


No kidding.

In 646 games since Australia’s first Test in 1899, the Wallabies have only racked up a century of points once – a 142-0 drubbing of Namibia at the 2003 World Cup.

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Coach Ian Foster and captain Sam Cane reflect on the All Blacks’ 38-0 win over the Pumas in Newcastle.
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Coach Ian Foster and captain Sam Cane reflect on the All Blacks’ 38-0 win over the Pumas in Newcastle.

And the African minnows are a shadow of this Argentinian side that only a fortnight ago conquered the all Blacks for the first time.

The Wallabies are under no illusions that they have any hope whatsoever of winning the Tri Nations.

A last-up 15-15 draw with the Pumas and Argentina’s 38-0 loss to the All Blacks in Newcastle on Saturday night put paid to those hopes and ensured the silverware was heading once again to New Zealand.

But Dave Rennie’s men still plan on finishing a frustrating year – in which they also toppled the All Blacks before failing to back up against the Pumas – on a high in Sydney on Saturday night.


“I didn’t have an idea that that’s what we had to score to win (the Tri Nations),” Wallabies forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto said on Sunday.

“I’m not going to come out and say that that’s a realistic score because we’re coming up against a quality side like Argentina.

“You’ve seen their quality in their first two Tests. We’re just looking to get the job done and do the best we can and whatever happens, happens.”

Had the Wallabies not relinquished a nine-point second-half lead against the Pumas last time around, they would have been heading to Bankwest Stadium in control of their own destiny and needing only to beat Argentina to claim the trophy.


“We let that slip away, didn’t we, so we’ll be looking to rectify that in this game,” Salakaia-Loto said.

Should they win, the Wallabies would finish the tournament with two victories, a draw and one defeat.

Yet the All Blacks will snare the trophy even after losing twice.

But Salakaia-Loto has no beef with the bonus-point system.

“I haven’t had a problem with it. If you work hard, score those tries, I don’t see why you shouldn’t be rewarded,” he said.

Salakaia-Loto is more concerned with getting some game time having recovered from a bout of syndesmosis sustained in Bledisloe III against the All Blacks last month.

“I’ve just been working hard on the sidelines and early in the mornings just to try and get my ankle right,” he said.

“So I’m available now, but that’s another story whether I get selected or play.

“It’s just good to be back in full training with the boys. I’m back ready to roll if I’m needed.

“Even for myself, the year that it’s been, I want to finish it on a positive by playing some good footy.”

Darren Walton


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