Despite the Wallabies’ woes, history makes for pretty good reading as they prepare to host Argentina in Brisbane.
But captain Michael Hooper knows unless systematic errors are addressed they will come unstuck at their Suncorp Stadium fortress on Saturday.
A loss would be the 13th for Michael Cheika’s men from their past 17 Tests – not an ideal form line just four Tests out from their World Cup opener against Fiji in September.
But they are undefeated from their past five matches in Brisbane and the Pumas – Australia’s World Cup semi-final opponents four years ago – have lost their last six Tests.
“Four years ago we played them in a World Cup semi-final (winning 29-15) and they’ve been improving since then,” he said.
“They’ve got threats all over the park, they’ve got smart operators in their playmaking positions … these guys play a fun, open game.”
That open game proved too much for the Wallabies on the Gold Coast last year and Hooper is hopeful their leaky defence will react after being “exposed” against the Springboks.
“Playing a different system to what we’re playing last year, we came undone a few times there in South Africa,” he said.
“We got exposed there a couple of times and on review there are some system errors that can be cleared up pretty easy and we take out a couple of those tries.”
While Hooper and his forwards enter almost unchanged from that loss – fit-again prop Scott Sio is the only new face – there are significant changes in the backline.
Utility back James O’Connor and five-eighth Christian Lealiifano are poised for returns after six and three-year Test absences respectively while Will Genia takes over at halfback and Marika Koroibete is back on the wing after the birth of his second child.
Argentinian coach Mario Ledesma, a former assistant under Cheika at the NSW Waratahs and Wallabies, hasn’t wasted time scouting the new faces.
“If we concentrate on combinations we know nothing about it’s difficult to prepare,” he said.
“Obviously (to win) it’s good because it validates the good work that you’ve been doing, but if you focus too much on results you’ll never get them.”
Pilfering master David Pocock’s injury-enforced absence has meant less pressure at the breakdown, with Hooper calling on his tacklers to hit hard and create opportunities for turnovers that didn’t eventuate in Johannesburg.
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