Can the Wallabies resist old habits to maintain ruthless streak?

·3-min read
Quade Cooper (pictured) chases the ball against South Africa.
Can the Wallabies maintain their momentum and send the Pumas home empty-handed? (Getty Images)

We've all been here before, haven't we Wallabies supporters?

That punch the air feeling after a good win or two followed by a punch to the gut feeling when you realise it was all a mirage.

Two wins over world champions South Africa in the Rugby Championship has rightly been celebrated, lifting the gloom and despair of another licking at the hands of the All Blacks.

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It enabled the Wallabies to rise to third in the world rankings – we were as far back as seventh in early July – and give hope of a new dawn instead of the false variety as they prepare to meet Argentina in Townsville on Saturday night.

But, to echo that first paragraph, we've all been here before.

As former Wallaby Tim Horan said amid the euphoria of last week's 30-17 disposal of the Boks: "The win over South Africa won’t mean a thing if the Wallabies come out and lose to Argentina.

"Rugby is all about momentum and not just one off performances."

Coach Dave Rennie is fully aware of the need to build on the two South African wins, while putting a pill under the tongue of expectation.

"When you lose, your job as a coach is to be up and try to give confidence and work harder and grow belief," he explained.

"And when you win, it’s almost the opposite. You've got to squash them down a little bit and give them clarity around how hard we've worked the last two weeks and try to replicate that.

"We're certainly in no position to sit back and relax and be happy.

"We are still a long way from the team we reckon we can be."

Coach closing in on best Wallabies XV

Rennie is closing in on his best XV, tinkering with last week's run-on side ever so slightly.

Rob Leota makes his starting debut in the backrow after the coach banished Lachie Swinton and overlooked Sean McMahon.

Reece Hodge begins the game at fullback in place of the injured Tom Banks and veteran James O'Connor has been added to the bench.

The names left on the bench indicate the growing depth in this Wallabies squad and the genuine competition for places.

It's just what Rennie has been craving.

James O'Connor (pictured middle) watches on during the Australian Wallabies captain's run.
James O'Connor (pictured miiddle) has returned to the Wallabies outfit. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Argentina goes in with an unchanged side and some self-belief after pushing the All Blacks at various stages of their back-to-back encounters.

As Rennie pointed out, the Pumas are a decent side and will be desperate to salvage something from this tour after dropping four straight games to South Africa and New Zealand.

If the Wallabies have truly developed a ruthless and winning edge, they must ensure the visitors leave the country empty-handed.

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