GOLD COAST, Australia (WNN) – Argentina’s disappointing tour of Australia comes to an end on Saturday when the Puma play the Wallabies in their final Rugby Championship match, two days after six of their players were banned from playing because they contracted the coronavirus. Protocol was broken.
The Argentine players have been away from home for almost four months and have not won five tournament matches. So it’s clear that his flight to South America on Sunday – win or lose at the Gold Coast’s Robina Stadium – can’t come soon enough.
Making five changes to his lineup, coach Mario Ledesma preferred not to talk about the six players and two staff who crossed the state border in New South Wales on Wednesday and were barred from returning to their Queensland base, Unaware that border restrictions had previously been reset. On that day only essential workers were allowed the crossing.
Among those who missed Saturday’s match are former captain Pablo Matera, prop Santiago Medrano and backup hooker Santiago Sosino for Pumas, who lost to Australia 27-8 last weekend. The other players were Felipe Ezcura, Joaquín Diaz Bonilla and Sebastian Cancellier, along with manager Lucas Chiocarelli and a video analyst.
Governing body Sanzar said Puma and their 44-player traveling crew still had enough men to play matches.
Props Rodrigo Martínez and Enrique Piereto are on as starters after being in reserve last weekend, and Ledesma missed Guido Petti on lock for Matias Alemanno. Rodrigo, who was injured last weekend, was number eight for Bruni Matera.
Ledesma said the longer tour – which includes three weeks in South Africa, where the Puma lost twice to the Springboks, and about six weeks in Australia for the tournament relocated to Queensland State – will only make his players stronger.
“All adversities build bonds, they build character too,” Ledesma said. “This team never makes excuses, never takes shortcuts. I am very proud of the determination this team has for the way it commits itself. Sometimes it leads to results, Sometimes that doesn’t happen.”
Australia captain Michael Hooper said on Friday that he expected Argentina to be excited by the incident.
“We were as surprised as anyone, and we’re not sure how it will affect his team,” Hooper said of the boundary violation. “We know there’s a little bit going on there, but we expect them to be full of emotion.”
For the Wallabies, Japan-based Sean McMahon could make a much-anticipated Test return after four years and Greg Holmes, 38, says Rugby Australia, to become the oldest Wallabies player to feature in a Test since World War II. is ready. . Both were named by coach Dave Rainey on the reserve bench.
McMahon, who is pursuing his first Wallabies action since 2017, is back after Rugby Australia loosened its eligibility laws to include foreign-based players. Holmes last played in 2016 after debuting in 2005.
Returning to Super Rugby with Western Force after four years in England, Holmes recently spoke with Rennie about joining the national team to oversee in a coaching capacity. But Renée called to offer to play Holmes instead when Pon Famausili was injured and fellow front-rover Alan Allalatoa was preparing to leave camp to be with his pregnant wife.
Renée said that Holmes gave the Argentine “more experience and nods in a hard role” to compete as back-up for Tanila Tupo.
“It’s so wonderful; it looks like it’s my first hat again,” said Holmes in what could be his farewell match. “When I left (Australian rugby) in 2016, I thought this was it. Hopefully Taniela doesn’t reach 80 minutes. I know he can . . . but hopefully a few minutes there for me Will be.”
Renee said that the Wallabies were overjoyed when Holmes’ name was announced on match day 23.
“He’s such a popular character, but it’s not a sentimental selection, it’s based on what we need,” Renee said. “He has come home and played a good footie.”
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