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Wallabies beef up pack to prepare for tough battle with brutal Pumas

Hard-hitting ... Tatafu Polota-Nau attacks the Argentina defence last month.

Hard-hitting ... Tatafu Polota-Nau attacks the Argentina defence last month. Photo: Supplied

ROSARIO: In the land of gargantuan steaks and enormous forwards, the Wallabies will go for brawn in their pack to confront the Pumas on Saturday night.

After calling in enough replacements from Australia to ensure that all spots were adequately covered following a bruising encounter with the Springboks during which five players suffered injuries, the Wallabies ran a new-look team in their first training session since arriving in Argentina.

While the facilities at the Rosario Jockey Club were that of the landed gentry, with the main rugby ground surrounded by polo fields, equestrian centres and a championship 18-hole golf course, there were no noses up in the air during the team run.

It was hard, grinding work, especially with Australia preparing themselves for a gruelling up-front encounter by beckoning all the big men for their pack, including 125-kilogram Waratah forward Sitaleki Timani, who ran at No.6, instead of Dave Dennis. James Slipper did all of the scrummaging at loose-head prop ahead of Benn Robinson.

The Wallabies selectors have been waiting for some time to play Timani, who has been troubled by injury, but it was assumed Timani would return via the second row, rather than back row. However, the Wallabies used Nathan Sharpe, Kane Douglas and Timani in tandem during their lineout training drills. Scott Higginbotham is another option to join the pack, but he was unable to train due to concerns about his back, which forced him out of the Springboks Test following a mishap at training when Sharpe accidentally landed on him.

Higginbotham, who was to sit on the reserves bench in Pretoria, withdrew during the warm-ups last Saturday. This prompted a change on the bench from a five-forward and two-back contingent to a four-three split with Mike Harris being elevated.

Harris played the final 14 minutes of the Springbok Test at fullback, and that appeared to be enough to make him the prime candidate to start at No.15 this weekend, after Berrick Barnes was forced to stay in South Africa with a punctured lung. He would also take over as the team's No.1 goalkicker.

Adam Ashley-Cooper (concussion) also could not travel to Argentina, and there is uncertainty whether Anthony Fainga'a or Ben Tapuai will be the outside-centre. Digby Ioane is still troubled with an injured kneecap, prompting Nick Cummins to train in his place.

Likely Wallabies team: Mike Harris; Digby Ioane or Nick Cummins, Anthony Fainga'a or Ben Tapuai, Pat McCabe, Dom Shipperley; Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps; Radike Samo, Michael Hooper, Sitaleki Timani, Kane Douglas, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper.

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
 

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