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International Rugby: Argentina v Wallabies preview

The Wallabies will return to action this weekend when they face Argentina in the opening game of the 2022 eToro Rugby Championship.

Having run England close, but ultimately falling short when losing the series 2-1, it is now time to go again with a tricky trip to Argentina.

The two nations will go head-to-head over the next two Saturdays and it will not be easy for the Wallabies as Argentina can be formidable opposition on home soil.

It will be another good test for Dave Rennie’s side. And just to add a bit of extra spice to the double-header, the Pumas are of course coached by former Australia coach Michael Cheika.

The Wallabies are also due to face South Africa and New Zealand in the Rugby Championship. But first of all they have to negotiate the two games against the Pumas.

So let’s take a closer look at the opening clash as the Wallabies look to begin the Rugby Championship with a morale-boosting win.

What: Argentina v Wallabies
Where: Estadio Malvinas Argentinas
When: 03:10 (AEST) Sunday 7th August 2022
How to watch: Stan Sport
Odds: Argentina 21/10, Wallabies 19/50

Injury issues stack up for Rennie

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has lost a number of key players to injury ahead of the tour to Argentina with Scott Sio the latest player to be ruled out.

The forward picked up a shoulder injury against England and has failed to recover in time. It leaves Rennie with a serious headache at loosehead prop as he is also without Angus Bell and Harry Johnson-Holmes who have toe and Achilles injuries respectively.

In a huge blow for the Wallabies Samu Kerevi has been ruled out for the rest of the year after suffering a knee injury during the Commonwealth Games.

He picked up the injury during the 7-5 win over Kenya and although the player did not think it was serious, scans have since revealed it is more sinister and he will not play again this year.

The injury list is extensive with Tom Banks (arm), Andrew Kellaway (hamstring) and Izack Rodda (foot) already in the treatment room.

So who has Rennie been able to name in his squad for the tour?
Western Force prop Tom Robertson has been called up to the squad to replace Sio. He will compete with Matt Gibbon for a place on the bench with James Slipper set to take a starting role.

Elsewhere a host of fresh faces have made the squad after missing out against England. They include Jock Campbell, Matt Gibbon, Lalakai Foketi and Fraser McReight who all caught the eye and impressed for Australia A during the Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji.

Speaking after naming his squad, Rennie admitted they were disappointed to lose to England but they have to move on and there is a lot to be positive about.

“We're only three matches into a 14-Test season so we need to take the lessons on board quickly and learn from them,” Rennie told reporters.

“To be able to pick guys who have performed well in the Australia A program against quality International opposition is a massive positive.”

Argentina will be full of confidence

The Wallabies have not played in Argentina since 2018 and on that occasion they overcame a 24-point half-time deficit to win the game 45-34.

Cheika was coach of Australia back then but has since made the switch to the Pumas and will be looking to get one over on the Wallabies.

They will be full of confidence having just beaten Scotland 2-1 in the July Tests. They won the first Test 34-31, before the Scots levelled matters with a 29-6 victory.

However Cheika’s men won the decider 26-18.

The last time the Wallabies played Argentina was in September and October of last year. Both games were played in Australia with Rennie’s men coming out on top 32-17 and 27-8.

However the Pumas will be a different prospect on home soil as they have just proven against the Scots.

Wallabies scumhalf Nic White is well aware of the threat that the Pumas will possess.

“Going over there and playing Argentina, they’re a different beast over there,” White said as the Wallabies prepared to travel to Argentina.

“Big crowds, very passionate which will be good fun for a lot of guys who haven’t been over there to see.”

Meanwhile the Wallabies will know what is coming against a side coached by Cheika and they will be expecting a couple of very physical encounters.

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