Wallabies' near impossible task to win Tri-Nations
SPOTLIGHT: Can the Wallabies steal the Tri-Nations cup from the All Blacks?
Sure, they can…all they need to do is beat the Pumas by 101 points and it’s theirs for the taking.
This herculean achievement would really be something for Australian rugby history. In 646 Test matches since their first in 1899 they’ve only managed a century of points once – the 142-point massacre of Namibia in the 2003 World Cup.
But, the African minnows are nowhere near the side this Argentine one is, after all they made history of their own beating the All Blacks for the first time just a fortnight ago.
However, with a 15-15 draw against Los Pumas a week ago and then being forced to watch the 38-0 drubbing the Argentinians received on Saturday from the All Blacks in Newcastle, they’re under no illusion just how difficult this task is. New Zealand pretty much sealed the deal with that win and in all likelihood the trophy will be winging it’s way back to the land of the long white cloud in a weeks’ time.
Nevertheless, Dave Rennie’s men will be wanting to finish the season on a high after a frustrating year where they managed to knock over the All Blacks before failing to back that up against the Pumas where they had the game in their hands.
“I didn’t have an idea that that’s what we had to score to win [the Tri-Nations],” Wallabies forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto said on Sunday..
“I’m not going to come out and say that that’s a realistic score because we’re coming up against a quality side like Argentina.
“You’ve seen their quality in their first two Tests. We’re just looking to get the job done and do the best we can and whatever happens, happens.”
Had the Aussies not surrendered a nine-point second half lead against the Pumas in their last game it would have been a completely different story heading into this weekend’s game at Bank West Stadium. They would have been in control of their own destiny just needing a win to take the trophy again for the first time since 2015.
“We let that slip away, didn’t we, so we’ll be looking to rectify that in this game,” Salakaia-Loto said.
Should the Wallabies manage to take the win next Saturday it means they would finish the competition with two victories, a draw and one loss.
Yet, even with two crosses in the losing column the All Blacks will still retain the trophy.
Even with that though Salakaia-Loto isn’t complaining about the bonus-point system.
“I haven’t had a problem with it. If you work hard, score those tries, I don’t see why you shouldn’t be rewarded,” he said.
He’s far more concerned about getting some game time having recovered from a bout of syndesmosis sustained in Bledisloe III against the All Blacks last month.
“I’ve just been working hard on the sidelines and early in the mornings just to try and get my ankle right,” he said.
“So I’m available now, but that’s another story whether I get selected or play.
“It’s just good to be back in full training with the boys. I’m back ready to roll if I’m needed.
“Even for myself, the year that it’s been, I want to finish it on a positive by playing some good footy.”