Wallabies vs Argentina, team news, Rob Leota, James O’Connor, Sean McMahon

In a categorical statement of intent, Dave Rennie said under his leadership the Wallabies would not “give tests”.

Gone are the days when his predecessor Michael Cheika distributed hats willy-nilly.

After back-to-back wins against the Springboks, Rennie could have made some subtle adjustments to his side against Argentina, who have yet to win the Rugby Championship.

Instead, as a sign of cruelty, he made just two changes to his starting squad – one of which is forced after Tom Banks broke his arm in the 30-17 win over Africa. South to Brisbane, which will see him miss the November tests. .

In his place, Reece Hodge was named in the full back jersey, with James O’Connor confirmed as utility cover on the bench.

More surprising was the selection of blind-flanked Rob Leota, the Rebels forward being the only change from forwards that knocked out the world’s most feared eight-man field.

After coming off the bench against South Africa earlier this month, Rob Leota will make his debut for Argentina. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

While Lachie Swinton was to be dropped, it was widely believed that Sean McMahon, having received an SOS to return from Japan, would be his replacement.

But on Thursday, Rennie said the Suntory-based striker is still getting back up to speed with the systems in place with the wallabies and that they want to reward Leota.

“I think he’s (McMahon) pretty fit, it’s just around all the details and it’s not just about our attack structures and our defense structures, it’s about the maul “said Rennie.

“But he’s in a good notch so he will continue to push for selection next week.

“We were pretty keen to reward Rob, he’s been with us all the time.”

Leota, 24, is a booming player, but his career has been hampered to date by two ACL knee injuries.

During his dark days, it was his family and friends who believed him when he didn’t.

“It happened very early. I was only 19, so it all happened when I got into professional football, ”said Leota.

“If I didn’t have the support network around me, I don’t know if I would be here to be honest.

“You go through a lot of peaks and then you go in by foot and it’s low after low every year.

“It’s all a thing of the past now, but sometimes you just think about it when you step on the pitch now.”

James O’Connor will return to the national team for the first time in 2021. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

While back rowers Rob Valetini, Harry Wilson and Swinton battled for two positions recently, some insiders have long believed Leota can top them all with her excellent footwork on the line and tight skills.

Rennie also said Pete Samu has made himself indispensable in recent testing, with his ability to inject a different pace, as well as cover all three back row positions, making him the perfect utility replacement.

“We’re really happy for Pete because he got crack last year and didn’t play well,” Rennie said.

“Other guys performed and he didn’t have another chance to come back and he trained superbly, and fought and backed that up with performances on Saturday. I’m really happy for him. “

Rob Leota impressed Dave Rennie. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

In the modern age where workload and reducing the risk of head trauma are paramount, a factor that World Rugby has attempted to control by reducing the amount of “heavy contact,” Swinton was abandoned and asked to improve his technique. tackle.

Although Argentina, who is assisted by Cheika, is an underdog, Rennie had nothing to do with it and said his rebuilding team should stay in the fight for 80 minutes.

“Who said we were favorite? Rennie said playfully. “We are not allowed to bet on matches.

“It’s irrelevant. We have achieved two good performances on which we want to build.

“We know the Argentines will be desperate because they have suffered four losses so far and they are a good team.

“They will want to express themselves, they will throw a lot of passes and they will block when they have the chance and they are very good at it.

“They are also very good at filling in the field. What we have learned is that you have to hang in the fight and sometimes it takes 65-70 minutes to break a camp. “

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After England coach Eddie Jones mentioned on Tuesday that he had chosen his 45-man training squad only with the 2023 World Cup in mind, Rennie was naturally asked if he too had his mind on the four-year tournament.

But moving away from his speech last year, where he spoke of a four-year trip, in part because of the mass exodus of players, Rennie said the Wallabies are determined to win now.

“You talk a lot about the World Cup, we have to focus on the next test,” he said.

“We have selected young men who we believe are ready to go now because they have to be.

“It will be a goal over time, but it doesn’t count for anything at the moment.

“We want to grow now and we want to be competitive now.”

In the past, Cheika was guilty of throwing caps at Eto Nabuli and Leroy Houston in the hopes that a selection would hold.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has made three changes to his squad to face Argentina. Photo: Andrew Phan / Wallabies MediaSource: provided

He cut and changed, hoping the friction would make the competition more competitive.

But Rennie and fellow coaches Scott Wisemantel and Scott Johnson are focused on continuity in a difficult 2021, where they have yet to face a Tier two nation.

“We have the advantage of having played a few tests, we had an extended three week break before this block of five, then we will have a few weeks against Japan and there are no easy tests,” a- he declared. noted.

“Japan are a quality team now under Jamie (Joseph) and Tony (Brown), then you go to Europe and they’re all tough.

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“We’re going to manage the guys from a training standpoint. Guys like Hoops (Michael Hooper) and Marika (Koroibete) played big minutes, they are a little more managed this week.

“We definitely want to give these guys opportunities, but we’re not going to give them test caps either.”

Wallabies 15-1: Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (c), Rob Leota, Matt Philip, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper

Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, Angus Bell, Tom Robertson, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor, Jordan Petaia

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