Argentina coach Michael Cheika praises Wallabies maul
Michael Cheika has demanded an “angry” response from Argentina’s forwards in the second Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies in San Juan on Sunday (AEST).
Australia’s forwards coach Dan McKellar has a stated goal to boast the world’s best maul and the former Brumbies mentor’s work showed in last weekend’s courageous 41-26 comeback win in Mendoza.
Mauls, scrums and all the dark arts involved are a traditional source of strength and pride for the Pumas and so what unfolded in the tournament opener stung badly.
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Argentina coach Michael Cheika speaks to assistants David Kidwell and Felipe Contepomi. (Getty)
“One thing we have spoken about that was pretty drastic was the maul defence,” former Wallabies coach Cheika said on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven.
“As you can imagine there was some angry forwards here but it’s no good being angry after the game. You’ve got to get angry before the game.
“We’ll be determined to put on a better show. Obviously Dan McKellar’s one of the best in the game at the driving maul so we’ve got to be conscious of that.
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“We just gave them a very easy platform and didn’t attack hard enough there.”
Argentina claimed a rare 2-1 series win over Scotland in July to kick off Cheika’s coaching tenure before last weekend’s setback.
Cheika said he was pleased with how the Pumas handled “crafty” halfback Nic White’s influence on attack.
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“Three of them were maul tries so I think we’re building in defence,” Cheika said.
“David Kidwell (defence coach and former NRL star) is learning about the game and doing a really good job here. The boys are enjoying the way he’s coaching so I’m really pleased with the way that’s moving along.”
Cheika has shaken up the Pumas backline with changes at halfback, centre and winger.
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Gonzalo Bertranou will start at No.9 as Tomas Cubelli moves to the reserves.
Juan Imhoff returns on the left wing while Emiliano Boffelli switches to the right flank and Santiago Cordero drops out of the 23.
Matias Moroni has been promoted to start in place of Matias Orlando at outside centre.
Agustin Creevy of Argentina and teammates sing the national anthem. (Getty)
Up front, Thomas Gallo will start at loosehead prop while Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro drops to the bench.
Meanwhile, the Wallabies say they won’t be caught by surprise by the angry Pumas.
“It won’t be any different to last game,” hooker Folau Fainga’a told Rugby Heaven.
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“There will be a lot of push and shove and knowing Cheik they’ll be coming off the back fence ready to take some numbers.”
The Wallabies named their team on Friday (AEST) with James O’Connor winning the No.10 jersey vacated by the injured Quade Cooper.
PUMAS (15-1): Juan Cruz Mallia, Emiliano Boffelli, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Juan Imhoff, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou, Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya (c), Thomas Gallo
Reserves: Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Joel Sclavi, Facundo Isa, Rodrigo Bruni, Tomas Cubelli, Tomas Albornoz, Lucio Cinto
WALLABIES (15-1): Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koroibete, James O’Connor, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Fraser McReight, Jed Holloway, Darcy Swain, Rory Arnold, Taniela Tupou, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Matt Gibbon, Pone Fa’amausili, Nick Frost, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Irae Simone, Reece Hodge
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