Beaten Wallabies land without baggage for Argentina date
Coming off a 28-10 loss to the Boks, the Wallabies were left without baggage on arrival in Buenos Airies.
BUENOS AIRES -Australia's hopes of salvaging an underwhelming Rugby Championship campaign were shattered in 10 catastrophic minutes in Cape Town and the frustration has continued in Argentina, where their luggage failed to arrive after a long-haul flight.
Coming off a 28-10 loss to the Springboks at Newlands where they battled hard but ultimately crumbled to ship three late tries, Ewen McKenzie's Wallabies were left pacing around their Buenos Aires hotel in the same clothes they wore on their 20-hour, three-leg journey from South Africa.
"It's complicated, you play a test match and get back to the hotel at 9 o'clock, then you're shipping bags out at 3 o'clock in the morning," coach McKenzie said in a video posted on the Australian Rugby Union's YouTube channel.
"Then you fly for another 20-odd hours."
"We arrived here in Buenos Aires and minus all our baggage, so 100 pieces of (luggage) still in Brazil."
"So it's been an interesting 24 hours since we got here because we've got no gear.
"So we've had to be creative but that's what happens and our gear's finally started to arrive now so we'll finally get a change of clothes and get on with the preparation."
"It's a difficult way to travel... with the time zones as well so you do feel a bit numb at the front end of the week."
With not even a jersey to wear, the Wallabies were given a day off on Monday to rest.
Video footage showed the bleary-eyed players sitting in a hotel meeting room watching a replay of themselves as an animated McKenzie stood by the screen and waved his arms around.
LACK OF DEPTH
Though New Zealand beat the Pumas at La Plata to seal the trophy with a round to spare, Australia will be hard-pressed to prevent the Pumas from securing their maiden win in the four-nation tournament when the teams clash in Mendoza on Saturday.
The Wallabies' lack of depth was badly exposed at Newlands, where their reserves were completely out-gunned by the Springboks' bench in the final quarter of the match.
Injuries have compounded the task, with number eight Ben McCalman ruled out with a shoulder strain, and inside centre Matt Toomua and lock Rob Simmons both doubtful as they recover from head knocks.
Back row enforcer Scott Higginbotham is likely to be promoted from the bench to replace McCalman, while playmaker Kurtley Beale may replace Toomua in the starting side if the ACT Brumbies centre fails to recover.
The Pumas almost upset the Wallabies with a late blitz on the Gold Coast in their first clash of the Championship and will fancy themselves to topple the wounded tourists for their first win after nearly three years of frustration in the tournament.
"It doesn't get much tougher than playing Argentina over here," said McKenzie.
"The crowd support is pretty parochial and they'll be disappointed they haven't got more out of the championship to date."
"They'll be keen to get a win, they haven't had one in the championship yet so it's going to be a very hard game."