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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.

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 57vs USA 0 Stats
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 22:00Leicester City Stadium
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 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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