This morning’s match went much as I expected it would. Argentina started quickly, but not cleanly. In their haste they make amazing line breaks and find gaps in a defensive line left reeling. They move at such pace that not even their teammates can predict their next move. In a test match, that is not ideal. The result is a lot of dropped ball and a lot of missed opportunities.
As expected, we got drawn into their messy style of play. Our backline that was last week pulling off smooth, rehearsed manoeuvres was this week looking mighty clumsy. Folau and Beale had little impact and our attack looked rushed and careless. Interestingly, even when we had secured victory we were still rushing our possession, as though we were desperate to score more points.
Despite looking fairly unimpressive in the first half and the scores sitting level, I didn’t ever doubt we would win. I waited for Argentina to tire and the pace to drop off just enough for our class to show through. Sure enough the gaps in their line appeared and we made it look pretty easy. Koroibete thundered down the sideline to score and Foley stepped his way through and over the line.
Hodge had a great game and is a great option to have on the field. Tatafu Polata-Nau delivered a fantastic performance, diving on loose ball and demonstrating a real desperation and commitment that can be so important in a test match. Dempsey had a number of great carries and made some good yards. There is a lot of promise within this side and with more work, patience and confidence they can do great things.
Foley had a forgettable night in front of goal but thankfully we did enough and the points left on the park didn’t hurt us too much. The TMO had a busy night, particularly with five minutes spent combing over footage of a completely legal tackle. Bizarre, but thankfully nobody invented anything to find an issue with. Stranger things have happened lately.
While it was a perfectly entertaining match, I would have loved to see the New Zealand and South Africa game. It would have been painful for them to get so close but shows again that New Zealand always manage to get away with it. Somehow. Argentina will no doubt be disappointed in their performance in the Rugby Championship, but they were valiant as always. When playing against the top teams in the world, sometimes you just have to celebrate the little victories.
In two weeks we will have to pick up our game and take on New Zealand. There may be no trophy to play for, but that would mean very little if we got the win. I am not talking about a little victory either. In this case, only a big one will do. Let’s be honest, the whole rugby world needs it. And I believe we can deliver. After all, blind faith is what keeps sport interesting.