JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Pumas need to adopt Che's doctrine of attack


Spiro Zavos

Remembering the Che Guevara doctrine ... the Pumas in action.

Remembering the Che Guevara doctrine ... the Pumas in action. Photo: Getty Images

DURING a debate in Melbourne recently between rugby and AFL tragics over the merits of their codes, Adam Freier, the former Wallabies hooker, argued convincingly that the international range of rugby union created a fascinating community who had played the game. He instanced James Bond (fictionally) and Che Guevara (literally) as rugby players. He could have mentioned Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as presidents who played rugby.

Edmund Barton, Ben Chifley (a dashing loose forward like Richard Burton), Sir Keith Holyoake, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (who lost the sight in an eye through a rugby injury) were prime ministers who learnt to take the hits of life on the rugby field. Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves, JJR Tolkien, Stephen Fry, Jacques Tati and Bryce Courtenay (a fervent Wallabies supporter) were players in their day.

With the Pumas playing their first Rugby Championship Test in Australia tonight at the Gold Coast, the case of Guevara reveals the Argentinian passion for the game. He played rugby, as an (inappropriate) centre not as a left winger, when he was studying medicine in Buenos Aires in the 1950s. He was so entranced with the game, he started his own rugby magazine, Tackle. Given the sterling defensive play of the Pumas against the All Blacks last Saturday night, Guevara's tackle imperative is now an essential part of the Argentinian style.

The Pumas have added a new dimension to the tournament, the ''Che Factor''. The Pumas and their passionate supporters are revelling on the big rugby stage the tournament provides. At Wellington, a small group of Pumas supporters, resplendent in their blue-and-white colours, blowing whistles and waving flags, provided enough noise with their singing, chanting and roaring to make their presence felt in a crowd of 35,000.

The enthusiasm of the supporters encouraged the Pumas to play with bravery, skill and a sort of revolutionary fervour that was in the Guevara traditions. The Pumas missed only 17 tackles out of 107 attempted. Time after time the All Blacks surged towards the Pumas' try line only to be knocked over and back. Luke Romano, the big All Blacks second-rower, led a charge from a five-metre tap penalty. He was smashed back another 5m as if he'd run into an on-rushing train.

At times, too, the Pumas showed glimpses of some slick running and passing in the backs. But there was not enough of this. The All Blacks made 133 carries of the ball for 470m gained: to the 33 carries and 177m by the Pumas. Sir Graham Henry, now a consultant-coach of the Pumas, has identified scoring tries as the main work-on for the Pumas. This is right. The Pumas, like the Springboks, are still playing their 2007 World Cup kicking game. Despite the fact that they had only 31 per cent of possession, the Pumas kicked 31 times to the All Blacks 27 times.

So the Wallabies can expect hard tackling and a lot of kicking tonight. The catching skills of the back three will be tested as Juan Martin Fernandez sends up his attack of bombs. If the Pumas get close to the try line, the Wallabies can expect a torrid sequence of one-up hard-shouldered runs from the big forwards. Even the tight All Blacks' defence could not hold on one occasion against this brutal onslaught.

The Pumas lineout (63 per cent success rate against the All Blacks) and scrum (88 per cent success) can be slightly wobbly. The improved Wallabies scrum under Andrew Blades's coaching and lineout (provided there are no more brain snaps from Nathan Sharpe) could have some dominance in the set-pieces.

The only complaint about the Pumas so far in the Rugby Championship is their cynicism in slowing down play. The Pumas, for their part, need to remember the Che Guevara doctrine that contests are won by attacking the opposition and not with go-slows.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers