The Wallabies’ hopes of a successful World Cup campaign were dealt a major blow as they suffered a demoralizing 34-31 defeat to Argentina in the Rugby Championship match held in Sydney. The loss has left their preparations in tatters, raising concerns about their prospects for the upcoming global tournament.
In a thrilling encounter, the Pumas’ number eight, Juan Martín González, broke Australian hearts with a last-gasp try. It seemed that the Wallabies’ winger, Mark Nawaqanitawase, had saved the day with a remarkable 95-meter intercept try just minutes earlier.
However, the risky selection decisions made by coach Eddie Jones proved detrimental to Australia’s chances. Former Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika masterminded the historic victory for the Pumas at Western Sydney Stadium, leaving Jones with the daunting prospect of leading the Wallabies to the World Cup in France without a single win.
If Australia fails to bounce back from their defeats to Argentina and South Africa in the upcoming Bledisloe Cup clashes against the All Blacks, Jones will head to the World Cup winless in his second tenure as Wallabies coach.
Initially, Jones’s changes to the starting lineup appeared to be a stroke of genius as Nawaqanitawase, Samu Kerevi, and Will Skelton excelled, helping the Wallabies secure an early 10-0 lead. However, the injury to Len Ikitau, who scored a try but had to be substituted, disrupted the team’s rhythm and forced them into a reshuffle.
From that point on, the Wallabies struggled to find their attacking fluency, and the defensive partnership of Cooper and Gordon appeared vulnerable. Despite the valiant efforts of Carter Gordon, who played out of position, the team faced numerous challenges throughout the match.
At halftime, the Wallabies found themselves hanging on with Richie Arnold receiving a yellow card. The Pumas capitalized on their numerical advantage and mounted a comeback, with Emiliano Boffelli scoring a try and adding a penalty to level the scores at 10-10.
In the second half, the Pumas took the lead through a try from hooker Julian Montoya, only for Wallabies halfback Nic White to equalize again. As the match entered its closing stages, fatigue started to affect the Wallabies, and Mateo Carreras’s try put Argentina in front at 26-17.
Yet, the Wallabies fought back with determination, as Kerevi crossed the try line followed by Nawaqanitawase’s exceptional solo effort. The Australian fans were elated, believing their team had secured victory. However, in a stunning twist, the Pumas snatched triumph from the jaws of defeat with Juan Martín González’s late try.
The Wallabies now face an uphill battle to regain their confidence and form ahead of the World Cup. It is a challenging time for coach Eddie Jones and his team as they seek to regroup and find the winning formula before the global tournament kicks off in France this October.