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.

Relieved McKenzie still has plenty to do

Hectic: Israel Folau is felled.

Hectic: Israel Folau is felled. Photo: Getty Images

Who knew the AFL boss could control the weather? Andrew Demetriou has made his feelings known that September in Perth should be reserved for AFL matches, but the Wallabies were deprived of delivering a perfect counterpoint to the insult by torrential rain and howling wind.

What they did deliver was a physical confrontation against the Pumas, and, yes, a much-needed victory for Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie. The fact it was a far-from-perfect performance should not detract from the relief the result brings. The road to deliverance must start somewhere.

After last week's mauling by the Springboks, McKenzie talked of dumbing down the game plan to eke out a win. His Argentine counterpart Santiago Phelan, meanwhile, was concocting a cocktail of pressure. The Wallabies had no peace on Saturday night. The Pumas have never been exponents of the running game, but they excel in the close exchanges. They have mastered the scrum and seek to make every tackle, breakdown collision and tactical kick count. Their execution is sometimes off, but it's a simple plan and far from dumb.

Israel Folau of the Wallabies dives over to score a try. Click for more photos

Drenched Wallabies get a win in Perth

The Wallabies have their first win of the 2013 Rugby Championship after edging the Pumas in the wet. Photo: Getty Images

The visitors rarely spread the ball wide and certainly not from the set-piece. They were content to send hard-running loose forwards to punch holes in the Wallabies' defence on the fringes. It was a damaging point of attack and ultimately successful when Juan Leguizamon crashed over in the 65th minute to bring Argentina within one point. It was as close as they got to victory but enough to make McKenzie squirm.

The Pumas thought about the strength of Israel Folau, too. No doubt the wind influenced their decision, but Argentina eschewed the high ball as five-eighth Nicolas Sanchez opted for short grubbers behind the line. Invariably they found space and the slippery conditions caused the Wallabies' back three problems.

Of course, bomb disposal is not the only facet of Folau's game that needs to be nullified. He has got drive in his legs, too, as shown when he crashed through four Puma defenders to score in the 28th minute. So rarely in the Rugby Championship has the Wallabies fullback had such room to move and he had quick ball from the breakdown, and even quicker hands from James O'Connor, to thank for the chance.

There were no such opportunities created at scrum time. From the Wallabies' seven scrum feeds in the opening 60 minutes, not once did Australian five-eighth Quade Cooper have the ball presented in front of him. The Puma pack bullied the Wallabies' supply lines. For five Tests in succession, the Wallabies have had no safe haven in the set-piece. Scott Sio being sent on early in the second half to replace James Slipper was an effort to arrest the problem. If McKenzie is prepared to drop Will Genia for Nic White, then surely the relatively simple prospect of recalling one of the best scrummagers, Benn Robinson, has crossed his mind, too.

Short-termism is the danger for Australian rugby. The game is in trouble - its popularity is waning and revenues are threatened. It's a classic catch-22 for the ARU. Long-term solutions to engage fans and climb the world rankings are the only way forward but they needed to be implemented with the expediency of a quick fix.

Armed with an expansive game plan, McKenzie is on the right track. It's just an awful long walk without a workable scrum.

Twitter - @Olympicsnut

18 comments so far

  • What "expansive game plan" Paul?!

    We should have lost that game ......but we dogged a bullet against the #10 Team in the World home

    The Media has to stop masking over this with their normal hype......we have SERIOUS PROBLEMS !!

    Date and time
    September 15, 2013, 7:40AM
    • "Armed with an expansive game plan, McKenzie is on the right track."

      Were we watching the same game? That was an escape act on a scale Houdini would be proud of. The tight 5 are an absolute mess, and the only back line plan seems to be to chuck it around a bit, give it to Folau, and see what happens.

      [(- -)] ZZZzzzz
      Date and time
      September 15, 2013, 7:40AM
      • The Wallaby scrum started to improve when the big man Timani was bought on to replace Douglas.

        Date and time
        September 15, 2013, 8:40AM
        • Ill jump in on this, seeing you Wallabies supporters love jumping on the All Black win or lose. You guys are a joke at the moment, that display of rugby was disgusting! If it makes you feel better, go a head and have a go at the All Blacks! The ref did this! The officials are so intimtadatied by the all black brand. Blah blah blah!

          The fact of the matter is Australian rugby is at its worst in 20+ years! Its easy to have a go at the best when your team is mud!

          Go the All Blacks! Keep entertaining Australian rugby!

          Date and time
          September 15, 2013, 1:20PM
          • Its funny how poorly you AB fans are at winning - no sense of sportsmanship - just pure spite. Take a look at your booing at the games - it says more about your nation than you may think.

            Casual observer
            Date and time
            September 16, 2013, 4:31PM
          • @ Casual: That America's cup skipper of yours (Spittle) is a real role model for good sportsmanship eh? What was his tweet again at the kiwis: "There's no 'I' in beat the F&^kers".

            Remember a certain NZ cricketer by the name of Richard Hadlee? Every time he was in Aussie playing he was barracked with "Hadlee's a w$%ker. On every ground. Because he was good.

            Glass houses buddy. Glass houses

            [(- -)] ZZZzzzz
            Date and time
            September 18, 2013, 6:12PM
        • These guys might have to join the Six Nations comp, or the Heineken Cup. This one is too hard and tough for them.

          Date and time
          September 15, 2013, 1:50PM
          • England second team smashed Argentina, maybe just play another Aussie team instead you might win something

            Date and time
            September 15, 2013, 3:52PM
          • Hona
            who put 38 points on the ABs biatch? Wallabys? SA?

            E N G L A N D baby.

            Date and time
            September 15, 2013, 9:50PM
        • Blimp is an imposter coach and we urgently need to bring back Dingo or appoint Jake. He has given us four dreadful performances and we did not deserve to win any of them..One Puma has more heart than the entire dumb Wobblies set-up.

          Date and time
          September 15, 2013, 3:02PM

          More comments

          Make a comment

          You are logged in as [Logout]

          All information entered below may be published.

          Error: Please enter your screen name.

          Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

          Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

          Error: Please enter your comment.

          Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

          Post to

          You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

          Thank you

          Your comment has been submitted for approval.

          Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

          Related Coverage

          Rugby World Cup 2015

          Round 1
          Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
          ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
          TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
          IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
          Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
          SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
          FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
          SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
          WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
          Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
          NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
          Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
          SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
          Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
          AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
          FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
          Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
          NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
          Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
          ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
          ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
          Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
          SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
          ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
          AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
          SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
          Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
          IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
          Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
          TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
          Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
          WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
          FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
          Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
          NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
          SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
          Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
          SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
          ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
          Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
          ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
          IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
          Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
          CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
          FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
          Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
          SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
          NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
          Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
          NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
          Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
          SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
          AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
          ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
          ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
          Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
          ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
          FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
          USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
          View All Fixtures
          Round 2
          Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
          WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
          WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
          WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
          Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
          WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
          Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
          WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
          Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
          WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
          Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
          LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
          Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
          WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
          View All Fixtures
          Rugby World Cup 2015
          Overall standings
          Team P W L D +/- Pts
          France 0 0 0 0 0 0
          New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
          View all
          Rugby World Cup 2015
          Overall standings
          Team P W L D +/- Pts
          Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
          England 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
          View all
          Rugby World Cup 2015
          Overall standings
          Team P W L D +/- Pts
          Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
          USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
          View all
          Rugby World Cup 2015
          Overall standings
          Team P W L D +/- Pts
          Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
          South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
          Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
          View all

          Follow Us on Facebook

          Featured advertisers