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Pumas need to adopt Che's doctrine of attack

Date

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.

spiro@theroar.com.au

Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27 vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10 vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5 vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20 vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29 vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30 vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17 vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34 vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26 vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19 vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10 vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13 vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16 vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57 vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12 vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28 vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36 vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17 vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37 vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39 vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23 vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15 vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31 vs CRU 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25 vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23 vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23 vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20 vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10 vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16 vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20 vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15 vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43 vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9 vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24 vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30 vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8 vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6 vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10 vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17 vs RED 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35 vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31 vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29 vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18 vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34 vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15 vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19 vs HUR 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48 vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10 vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41 vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29 vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16 vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25 vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35 vs LIO 33 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58 vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42 vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32 vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18 vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25 vs BRU 24 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46 vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22 vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33 vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20 vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24 vs HIG 45 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34 vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14 vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5 vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32 vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3 vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17 vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31 vs REB 15 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 35 vs HUR 18 Report Stats
BRU 22 vs BUL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 25 vs REB 21 Report Stats
HIG 36 vs CHF 9 Report Stats
FOR 10 vs RED 32 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 42 vs CHT 12 Report Stats
LIO 27 vs WAR 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 56 vs HIG 20 Report Stats
FOR 20 vs BRU 33 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB 21 vs BUL 20 Report Stats
BLU 11 vs CRU 34 Report Stats
RED 3 vs CHF 24 Report Stats
CHT 33 vs WAR 58 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19 vs LIO 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU 7 vs HIG 44 Report Stats
REB 11 vs FOR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU 24 vs CRU 37 Report Stats
CHF 13 vs HUR 21 Report Stats
WAR 31 vs RED 5 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL 29 vs CHT 42 Report Stats
SHA 34 vs STO 12 Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
HIG 24 vs CHF 14 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19 vs BRU 39 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Semi Finals
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 29 vs BRU 9 Stats
WAR 17 vs HIG 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
HUR 14 vs HIG 21 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
View all
 

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