Wallabies looking for a miracle
To keep them in the race for shot at the Tri-Nations title the Wallabies best hope is for a highly unlikely draw between New Zealand and Argentina next weekend after they blew the game on Saturday.
They had one hand on the trophy coming into the game only to slump to a 15-15 draw that now sees Los Pumas in the pound seats to rake in some silverware of their own for the first time in this competition!
The Wallabies managed to concede three penalties in the last 25 minutes of the match before greenhorn flyhalf Reece Hodge pushed a shot wide of the posts that would have given them the match at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Newcastle simply continues to be a graveyard for Australian teams – it was here that Michael Hooper started his international career in 2012 with a shock defeat to Scotland and last year the Waratahs somehow managed to slump to an appalling Super Rugby loss to Japan’s lowly Sunwolves.
However, this latest setback could be the costliest of them all.
The draw now takes away the Wallabies chance to be the masters of their own destiny and it now sits in the hands of Argentina and the All Blacks. The nation that wins next week’s game will emerge from a three-way tie to lead the competition as they head towards the final round.
Unless…there’s ANOTHER twist in a tournament that has continued to throw up surprises?
First there was the Wallabies rebounding from their largest ever defeat to the All Blacks to snatch a 24-22 victory just one week later.
Then came the shock of New Zealand’s first ever test loss to the Pumas before the Argentines went on to back that impressive showing up with a draw against Australia.
In talking to Nic White it was suggested that another Puma win against the All Blacks might be the best result for the Wallabies (who will face the South Americans in the final round of the competition) however he brought up an even more outlandish outcome that would suit the Australians just perfectly.
“Maybe if they draw? Isn’t that a great result? A draw would be alright,” White said.
He’s not wrong.
In the almost unthinkable situation of a draw taking place it would leave the Wallabies in a position where they would just need to beat the Pumas in the final match of the tournament in two weeks’ time to win their first silverware in the Rugby Championship since 2015.
“There will be plenty of motivation there alone to put things right,” White said.
“It’s been an interesting year.”
“We’d love to send it out on a high so hopefully it’s all there for us going into that last game and the carrot is there that we go out there; we learn from this and put on an absolute cracker and you guys will forget about what’s happened here.”
However, right now the facts of the matter are that the Pumas and All Blacks have control over the Wallabies fate.
Argentina’s head coach, Mario Ledesma, has refused to get ahead of himself as he knows that if the All Blacks win on Saturday with a bonus point it would dash his side’s hopes of a shot at the title.
“Look, we’re going to recover and think very carefully about how we’re moving forward,” Ledesma said, citing fatigue in the squad as the Pumas’ biggest concern.
“For sure, there’s going to be changes because there’s injuries.
“We need a freshen up.”