The last match of the 2017 Rugby Championship will see Argentina host Australia in Mendoza. The Pumas have already claimed the wooden spoon but will want to win their first match of the tournament, while Australia needs victory in order to finish second (unless South Africa somehow avoids losing to New Zealand earlier in the day, in which case Australia would finish third regardless).
Besides not winning any games so far in the tournament, Argentina wasn`t even able to win a defensive bonus point. The Pumas lost all their matches by 17+ points, including a 20-45 defeat to Australia three weeks ago in Canberra. Last week they put on a decent effort in Buenos Aires against a weakened New Zealand team, but still they never had a chance and lost by “only” 26 points mostly because New Zealand took their foot off the pedal in the second half.
Australia is coming after a draw in South Africa, a pretty good result which came to confirm the fact that the Wallabies were probably the second best team in the tournament so far. It was a pretty solid showing from Australia in this Rugby Championship, as they recorded a big win at home with Argentina, two draws with South Africa and almost defeated New Zealand on the road in the second round, one of the best rugby matches of the decade.Bet on Argentina v Australia and claim your 100% (100 Eur) bonus at Ohmbet now!
Team news & lineups:
Argentina has lost Cubelli with injury and will make 4 changes to the lineup that lost to New Zealand last week. Australia will field the same lineup that earned a draw in South Africa.
Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Marcos Kremer, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera Paz
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Argentina was always expected to struggle in this tournament after making some changes in the selection policy which left them without a few key players, but it`s safe to say they actually underperformed even with the low expectations. Proof of that is the fact that Argentina covered the point spread only once in their 5 matches in this tournament.
Australia, on the other hand, exceeded expectations. Many said the Wallabies will have a horrible tournament after their domestic club teams made a fool of themselves in the Super Rugby, but the Wallabies proved that at International level they are still a force to be reckoned with. They covered the spread in 3 of the 5 matches played so far. They only lost to New Zealand twice, but actually played toe to toe with the All Blacks in 3 of the 4 halves of rugby.
One crucial argument in favor of Australia is the fact that Argentina is on the back of a game with New Zealand in which they had to put in a massive effort.
The Pumas are known for collapsing physically late in games against top opposition, and that is even more likely to happen now, in the last match of a grueling competition, and after they just met New Zealand – an opponent which demands a monumental effort out of you. The last match Argentina played right after meeting New Zealand? It was actually in Australia three weeks ago, they led at half time, but their legs completely fell off later on and Argentina won by 25 points.
Argentina will likely dominate the scrum and that will give them some chances early, but Australia’s backs should be the X factor, as Argentina has no answer to their visitors in this department. Poor discipline should also cost the Pumas.
Expect a close game with Australia steadily building a lead, and the Wallabies should run away with it in the last 20 minutes or so. The Pumas are just too tired and have no confidence after losing 10 of their last 11 games, not to mention the Jaguares (where the entire NT plays) having a poor year domestically. There is just no confidence in this team to surpass the gap in talent compared to the likes of Australia.
My tip is Australia to win. Odds for the straight win are satisfactory, so I will choose safety as opposed to betting on the handicap, even though I believe Australia will cover it. I`d be shocked if the Wallabies don`t win this, so I`m going with max stakes on this bet. Don`t be surprised if odds go down. Prediction: Argentina – Australia 18 – 31.