Have your say on the Wallabies
Tim Sheridan is a reporter with Wide World of Sports and an integral member of the National Nine News team.
Diplomacy took a shove from the Argentinian Ambassador this week.
His Excellency Mr Pedro Villagra Delgado was hosting a cocktail party in honour of the Pumas' arrival in the Rugby Championship. The Ambassador's message is that his country won't miss this opportunity, and that its entry into the southern hemisphere's elite rugby competition augurs economic and sporting achievements.
That means beating the Wallabies.
It may not happen at Skilled Stadium on the Gold Coast this Saturday night, but the return match in Rosario on October 7 will give the Pumas an enormous opportunity to claim a big scalp.
As one rugby pundit put it, the Argentinians are like the Italians but they play that style of game a whole lot better.
The first tactic is to bloody the opposition's nose with a stampede off the defensive line – hundreds of kilos of power on the hoof. It tramples through the breakdown and often has halfbacks and fly-halves folding around each other to reset the play. The Springboks tried to counter and go through the Pumas but failed.
Then a mirage is set up. Show the opposition a whole load of sideline and wait for them to try for it. False width is an Argentine speciality and trying to get around them proved very difficult for the All Blacks. Rugby's best outside backs never really opened Argentina up.
At the Argentine function in Sydney, former Puma and Wallaby Enrique "Topo" Rodriguez spoke as a cross-cultural ambassador. One of the world's finest-ever front rowers pointed out there are now 100,000 registered rugby players in Argentina. He denies most of them are props.
The Pumas will be strong and ruthless at the set-piece this weekend, so stand-in Wallabies half Nick Phipps must aim his box kicks perfectly to turn the Puma behemoths around. Artless kicking has been the favourite spleen venting subject of all Wallabies fans this spring, but when asked how we get on the other side of the defence most critics are a bit more circumspect.
At rugby's highest level the advantage line is so close and defensive lines are now like cliff faces, so playing this type of game is almost the easier option. Let the attack punch itself out and, bereft of ideas, they will kick. With Kurtley Beale out of form, James O'Connor injured and Quade Cooper still finding his way back, the Wallabies are almost forced into this type of game.
Wallabies great Mark Ella pointed out recently how he often played attacking rugby behind beaten packs. He certainly did, and he was sublime, but I would ask how many of the opposition forwards were almost always defending three or four wide of the breakdown.
Rules in those days dictated most of the forwards be where they belonged – in the ruck or maul. Modern rugby's great dilemma is how to solve its ugly spectacle: two lines of players a few metres apart, right across the field, forwards grinding away like badgers until a penalty is given. A penalty no-one can understand.
The wider game's look and direction is hardly the Wallabies' problem this Saturday night, but then in a way it will be. The Pumas will exploit all the modern rules to squeeze some poor choices out of Australia.
Hopefully none of them will be kicks to nowhere.
Will the Pumas beat the Wallabies in their first Rugby Championship clash?
What do you think of the Wallabies tactics so far this spring?
Should the rules of rugby change to reduce the amount of kicking?