Nathan Sharpe will captain Australia against Argentina. Source: Getty Images/news.com.au
Nathan Sharpe will become the fourth man to captain Australia in 2012, when he leads the injury depleted Wallabies out at Skilled Stadium against Argentina on Saturday night. The season ending knee injury sustained by Will Genia against the Springboks in last week’s 26-19 win over the Springboks sees Nick Phipps start just his second game in the run on side, with Brett Sheehan named on the bench. With Sitakeli Timani ruled out with a hamstring injury, Waratahs teammate Kane Douglas will make his debut, while Pat McCabe returns from injury in the centres, with Berrick Barnes moving to fullback at the expense of Kurtley Beale.
While Australia scored their maiden Rugby Championship against South Africa in Perth last weekend, their performance was far from convincing. The Wallabies overcame a 13-6 halftime deficit before winning by seven points after not taking advantage of their possession and the strong work of the forwards in the opening stanza. Coach Robbie Deans is sure to have addressed the team’s poor decision making, particularly with the boot, and a much more disciplined showing can be expected on the Gold Coast.
Despite being winless to date in the Rugby Championship, Argentina has been competitive against both New Zealand and South Africa. The competition new comers dictated much of the play against the Springboks in Mendoza last month but were forced to settle for a 16-16 draw, and then put up a good fight against the All Blacks in Wellington last weekend before going down 21-5.
Australia has won 12 of the 17 Test matches played between the countries, with Argentina victorious on four occasions, while the 1987 meeting in Buenos Aires ended in a draw. Australia has lost only once to the Pumas at home, an 18-3 defeat in 1983, while Australia triumphed 24-8 when the sides last met, during the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Sydney.
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