Australia coach Robbie Deans stressed that Saturday night’s 23-19 Rugby Championship win over Argentina was a performance that should not be underestimated.
While the Pumas did not get the points at Skilled Park in their first Test on Australian soil since the 2003 World Cup, they would have won a swarm of new admirers for their daring, aggressive style of play.
Deans, who heaped praise on Argentina’s performance against his Wallabies side, said: “I wouldn’t underestimate what we have just done. No side has played with any fluency against Argentina. I think we need to give them due respect. They’ve just come into the tournament and obviously, a big motivation for them is to earn respect.”
He added: “They’re a tough team to play against. They’re sticky, they’re proud, they defend superbly well. Their tackling is remarkable. Give them credit.”
After stealing a 16-16 draw with South Africa in round two and holding the All Blacks to a score of just 9-5 for 59 minutes before losing 21-5 in Wellington last weekend, Argentina have now put in gallant efforts against every other team in the Rugby Championship.
Quite conceivably, they could have beaten the Wallabies on this occasion - after leading 6-3 at the break, two tries and a penalty to start the second half saw them 19-6 up and in the box seat for an upset.
But an injury-ravaged Australia put on 17 unanswered points to hold the impressive Pumas at bay and steal a brave four-point victory.
It is now only a matter of time until Argentina add composure to their rigid defence and battering physical approach and become a force in the Rugby Championship, Deans added.
“They’re potentially scary, absolutely,” he said. “Once that anxiety goes out of it, I guess, they will start to play. They’ve got the capacity to play.
“They’re very similar to the French, in the way they play their rugby - enormous pride, as good a pride you find in any side in world rugby.” - eurosport.com