October 2, 2018 / 6:38 PM / 14 days ago

Rugby - Altitude an extra hurdle for faltering Aussies in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Australia hope to put a run of bad form behind them this weekend against Argentina but while lock Adam Coleman says the Wallabies’ heads may lack oxygen at the high-altitude venue in Salta they cannot lack concentration against an improving Pumas.

Australia have never played in Salta before and the big man said he knew little about the city, which sits more than a kilometre above sea level in the north of the country.

“I think I’ve got to hit up Wikipedia tonight, I’ve no idea what it is like,” Coleman joked with reporters on Tuesday.

“I’ve played at altitude in Africa and I assume it will be very similar but like I said you’ve really got to make sure that you are mentally switched on.

“You’re obviously fatigued a little bit earlier. You can’t control how much oxygen is in the air but what you can control is your next job.”

Australia have won two of their last 10 games and currently sit bottom of the Rugby Championship table, three points behind Argentina, who beat them 23-19 on the Gold Coast on Sept. 15.

Their position is especially galling given arch-rivals New Zealand wrapped up a third successive title last weekend.

Coleman and his team mates have repeatedly said their bad run does not reflect their play and they stressed the need for concentration against a side who are enjoying their best performance in the tournament since they joined in 2012.

“I think just execution at crucial times,” uncapped back Tom Banks said when asked what the Wallabies were missing this year.

“I think we’ve let ourselves down at crucial times and that obviously let South Africa and Argentina back into the game these past few weeks.

“It’s just about trying to fine tune those last little points and I’m sure we can do that.”

Writing by Andrew Downie, reporting by Ramiro Scandolo; editing by Martyn Herman

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