Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Argentina v Australia

Latest rugby union news

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie is refusing to dwell on the possibility of being the first man to lead the Wallabies to the Rugby Championship wooden spoon.

The Wallabies take on Argentina in Rosario on Saturday with the winner avoiding the ignominy of finishing bottom of the four-team table.

That fate has never previously befallen Australia and McKenzie is not giving the prospect of it happening now too much thought ahead of the clash at the Estadio Gigante de Arroyito stadium.

"There's not much point in filling the players' heads with the negatives," McKenzie said.

"We look at this as an opportunity to beat Argentina here.

"This hasn't been an easy place for Australia to play ever, so you concentrate on that bit instead of worrying about the what-ifs or the negatives."

McKenzie succeeded Robbie Deans as boss after the series defeat to the British and Irish Lions and has struggled.

The Wallabies, whose only win in the 2013 Rugby Championship came against the Pumas in Perth, would slip to sixth in the world rankings if they lose by 15 points or more - a new low since the system was introduced in 2003.

And while the former Australia prop admits he is frustrated with the number of defeats suffered, he insists progress should not be judged solely on results.

"You can gloss over those sorts of things but I tend to look at the business in its totality," he added.

"To set it up properly and give us a decent platform to go forward there's a few hard decisions.

"That doesn't mean that I'm happy with results because I'm as impatient as everyone."

Argentina go into the game without key prop Juan Figallo, who impressed against New Zealand last weekend.

Figallo has a neck and back problem and has been replaced by Juan Pablo Orlandi.

Veteran centre Felipe Contepomi, who will become the most capped Puma in history with 87 at the weekend, is certain 30-year-old Orlandi will rise to the challenge.

"Any player you have in your starting 15 and you lose it's a big blow especially for us as we don't have a lot of depth like other teams," Contepomi told rugby.com.au.

"But we've lost our captain (Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe) for the first two games and we've lost Pato Albacete, a very influential player for the first four games, and we still got through.

"Obviously we would love to have him (Figallo), we can put that as an excuse but it's not really.

"We are confident that Juan Pablo Orlandi will do a great job and have confidence in playing with him and he will be very confident on getting onto that pitch and doing the job."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre