Rugby News

Rugby-Pumas look to boost intensity before Tri-Nations opener

SYDNEY, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Argentina’s final preparations for their Tri-Nations opener next week against New Zealand will kick into high gear on Saturday when they face a ‘Rugby AU’ side packed with Australian test players in Sydney.

The Pumas, who have been in a bio-secure bubble since arriving in Australia last month, will face a side containing 13 players from the Wallabies squad eager to force their way into Dave Rennie’s matchday plans for later in the Tri-Nations.

Mario Ledesma’s full squad only trained together for the first time this week, with 13 Europe-based players released from isolation on Tuesday.

“There was a lot of emotion,” said Pumas coaching consultant Michael Cheika, the former Australia head coach who has been brought in for the Tri-Nations by Ledesma.

“There has been a lot of adversity for the team this year. Lot of struggle away from the family. Lockdowns in hotels and some difficult situations.

“For them to meet the first time and immediately start training together is so interesting. It was great off the field and on the field.”

Cheika added that the match at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday, which will be played without a crowd, would be a good chance for the team to boost the intensity before they face the All Blacks in Sydney on Nov. 14.

“They showed in the last practice match against the Australia XV that they are hungry to get a feeling of the jersey and to play at the next level,” he said.

“I think this is extremely important, to take small wins every day. Specially in this atmosphere, where you have no games to play, to see where you are.” (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)