Hello everybody and welcome to live coverage of Argentina v Australia on matchday four of the 2020 Tri-Nations series. Kick-off from McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle is 7.45pm.
Back when The Rugby Championship was still a thing and a full suite of spring rugby was on the cards this fixture would have been squeezed into the schedule as an afterthought. Now it is the main event of the makeshift Tri-Nations with both sides, improbably, heading into the clash on the back of victories over the All Blacks.
Of the two triumphs Argentina’s was the most significant and impressive. The Pumas comprehensively outplayed a first-choice New Zealand line-up for their first ever victory over the biggest name in international rugby. And they did so after not playing for a year and being forced to overcome all manner of obstacles simply to get to the starting line. It is a triumph that deserves its place in history.
The Wallabies’ victory came against a more experimental New Zealand side in the last of four consecutive trans-Tasman contests, one that carried the air of a dead rubber. Nonetheless, it was a restorative victory after back-to-back defeats.
Now this pair of giant slayers meet to determine who will dash to the finish line of this series favourites to secure the Tri-Nations crown.
With home advantage at a sold out McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, Australia will fancy their chances. Dave Rennie has impressed in his short time in charge and his squad selection indicates he is developing a clear picture of who he trusts to build around for the next World Cup cycle. But opposite number Mario Ledesma has Rennie’s predecessor Michael Cheika to call upon for advice, so the Pumas will go in forewarned and forearmed. As they proved last week they may go in as underdogs but they will not be overawed by the occasion.