BUENOSAIRES (Reuters) – Australia coach Michael Cheika has called on his side to channel the pain from a woeful Rugby Championship campaign and unleash their frustrations on Argentina in Salta on Saturday.
The Wallabies have won only one of their five matches in the tournament so far and need a victory over the Pumas to avoid being left with the wooden spoon for the first time since Argentina started competing against the southern hemisphere’s elite in 2012.
Cheika said the Wallabies, who have scored only 10 tries, fewer than any of their rivals, would stay true to their principles and was confident the points would come.
“We don’t need it, we’ll get it,” Cheika said when asked if he needed a win to validate the hard work.
“We’re very, very sure about what we need do. You stay true to what you believe and it will happen on the field.
“You can’t look to go and crawl in a hole when you’re under the pump. You’ve got to make sure when there is a challenge there you step up and you take it.”
With the Rugby World Cup less than a year away, Cheika said the Wallabies would emerge stronger from their current struggles.
“Some of the pain we are going through this year is going to pay for us later on, I promise you,” he told reporters.
“What we are going through, a tough time, is going to make our players, and our people in the squad as a whole, tougher and ready for battle.
“And there’s no bigger battle than coming to Argentina and playing over here.
“It is always tough. We need to take some of the pain we have felt over this season and use it in the right way.”
Australia have made two changes to the team that lost to South Africa last weekend, bringing back Bernard Foley at flyhalf and Kurtley Beale shifting to inside centre.
The home side, meanwhile, are looking to record a third win in the tournament for the first time.
The Pumas are three points ahead of Australia and a win or draw will condemn the Wallabies to last place.
New Zealand wrapped up their third consecutive championship with a win over Argentina in Buenos Aires last week.
(Writing by Andrew Downie, reporting by Ramiro Scandolo; Editing by Peter Rutherford)