Australia remains unchanged for Argentina test

Michael Cheika hopes his side can climb to second place in Rugby Championship

Australia head coach Michael Cheika made no changes to the side which drew 27-27 with South Africa in Bloemfontein last weekend. Photograph:    Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Australia head coach Michael Cheika made no changes to the side which drew 27-27 with South Africa in Bloemfontein last weekend. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

 

Australia coach Michael Cheika named an unchanged side for the first time since he took charge in 2014 for Saturday’s closing Rugby Championship test against Argentina in Mendoza.

Cheika has kept faith with the team that drew 27-27 with South Africa in Bloemfontein last weekend, their second successive stalemate.

However, Cheika has made changes to the bench with prop Tetera Faulkner coming in and both Ned Hanigan and Tom Robertson dropping out of the matchday squad.

Henry Speight is confirmed as a back on the bench but Marika Koroibete has retained his place in the side on the right wing after a fine first start.

Cheika is hoping his team can climb to second place, leap-frogging South Africa if the Springboks lose to champions New Zealand in Cape Town earlier on Saturday.

Competitive

“We started the first 40 minutes [of the Rugby Championship] really poorly but since then we’ve been more than competitive,” he said, referring to an opening 54-34 defeat by New Zealand in which they were 40-6 behind at half-time.

“Players are improving and we’ve got fitter so we’re competing in games for longer,” he said. “Of course, I would have liked to have had a couple more wins but we’re looking to improve more before the year is out.”

Scrumhalf Martin Landajo replaces the injured Tomas Cubelli in one of four changes by Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade.

There are three changes to the pack in a side hoping to win their first points in the tournament with Tomas Lezana coming into the back row for the dropped Juan Manuel Leguizamon. The pair of locks has also been changed with Matias Alemanno and Marcos Kremer replacing Tomas Lavanini and Guido Petti.

AUSTRALIA: I Folau; M Koroibete, T Kuridrani, K Beale, R Hodge; B Foley, W Genia; S Sio, T Polota-Nau, S Kepu, I Rodda, A Coleman, J Dempsey, M Hooper, S McMahon. Replacements: S Moore, T Faulkner, A Alaalatoa, R Simmons, L Tui, N Phipps, S Kerevi, H Speight.

ARGENTINA: J Tuculet; M Moroni, M Orlando, J de la Fuente, E Boffelli; N Sanches, M Landajo; L Noguera Paz, A Creevy, N Tetaz Chaparro, M Kremer, M Alemanno, P Matera, J Ortega Desio, T Lezana. Replacements: J Montoya, S Garcia Botta, E Pieretto, B Macome, L Senatore, G Bertanou, S Gonzalez Iglesias, S Cordero.

Referee: M Raynal (Fra)

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