O'Connor in at fly-half, Arnold and Foketi start for Australia against Pumas

By Sports Desk August 11, 2022

James O'Connor will start at fly-half, while Rory Arnold and Lalakai Foketi have also been included in the Australia side to face Argentina in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

O'Connor gets the nod to don the number 10 shirt in the absence of Quade Cooper, who suffered an Achilles injury in the 41-26 win over the Pumas last weekend.

Arnold has recovered from a calf injury and the lock will make his first Wallabies start of the year at Estadio Bicentenario.

Centre Lalakai Foketi has been handed a maiden start by Dave Rennie, partnering Len Ikitau, and prop Taniela Tupo is back in the team in San Juan after Allan Alaalatoa returned home for personal reasons.

Pone Fa'amausili is set to make his debut off the bench, while Irae Simone is also among the replacements.

Australia head coach Rennie said: "After a tough, physical game last week it's great to be able to call on the experience of guys like James and Rory and also see the team's excitement for La and Irae who get to wear the Wallaby gold again on Saturday.

"It's going to be a proud occasion for Pone and his family and it's a testament to him for the hard work and obstacles he's had to overcome to earn his first Test cap."

 

Australia team: Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koroibete, James O'Connor, Nic White; James Slipper (captain), Folau Fainga’a, Taniela Tupou, Rory Arnold, Darcy Swain, Jed Holloway, Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Matt Gibbon, Pone Fa'amausili, Nick Frost, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Irae Simone, Reece Hodge.

Related items

  • Scaloni excited by prospect of continuing Argentina role through to 2026 World Cup Scaloni excited by prospect of continuing Argentina role through to 2026 World Cup

    Lionel Scaloni is "excited and grateful" at the prospect of continuing as Argentina coach through to the 2026 World Cup.

    Chiqui Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, stated an agreement had been reached between both parties for Scaloni to remain in his post for the next four years.

    A new deal would be a fine reward for Scaloni, who replaced Jorge Sampaoli after the 2018 World Cup, where Argentina were beaten by eventual champions France in the last 16.

    Under Scaloni, Argentina won the Copa America last year to end a drought at major tournaments dating back to the 1993 Copa.

    A routine 3-0 win over Jamaica on Tuesday, in which Lionel Messi scored twice off the bench, also saw Argentina stretch their unbeaten run to 35 matches.

    Scaloni is now focused on continuing his work with the national team.

    "I'm excited and grateful," Scaloni said about Tapia's announcement.

    "I want to continue, who wouldn't want to do it with the Argentine national team?

    "I have the best relationship with the president, we met today, everything is on track."

    The fixture against Jamaica was Argentina's penultimate game before the World Cup with a friendly against the United Arab Emirates to come before the tournament in Qatar.

    Earlier this year, Argentina's planned friendly against Brazil – scheduled to take place in Australia – was cancelled.

    Scaloni spoke about a lack of preparation against the more elite sides of international football but is confident his team will be ready based on their performances in the build-up to the tournament.

    "The result is positive, not for the results, but because the players gave themselves to the maximum," he added.

    "Sometimes things don't go well but this team knows that sometimes you can suffer, the rival can be better, and you have to stay entrenched and work.

    "Don't forget that our idea of the game could be different from what was seen today You have to know what to do in the game and this team knows it."

    Asked about his team's chances in Qatar, Scaloni added: "I do not go to Qatar with an inflated chest, there are great teams and it is very difficult to say who can win the World Cup.

    "Whatever it has to be in the World Cup [it will be], but we are going to leave every last drop of sweat [out there]."

    Argentina's first group-stage match takes place on November 22nd against Saudi Arabia.

     

  • Messi will be missed like Federer, 'so let's enjoy him' – Scaloni Messi will be missed like Federer, 'so let's enjoy him' – Scaloni

    Lionel Messi should be appreciated by fans of all countries at the World Cup as he will be missed like Roger Federer "and more" when he retires, says Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni.

    Messi scored twice from the bench in Argentina's 3-0 win over Jamaica on Tuesday, their penultimate friendly before Qatar 2022.

    The Albiceleste head to the finals as one of the favourites, having won the Copa America last year.

    That was Messi's long-awaited first major international honour, and this could be the 35-year-old's last chance to win a World Cup, having lost in the 2014 final.

    Although the Paris Saint-Germain superstar remains on top of his game, scoring six goals across his past four matches for club and country, Scaloni knows he cannot go on forever.

    And the Argentina boss expects Messi's eventual retirement will be received with the same outpouring that met tennis legend Federer's decision to quit the sport last week.

    "[Messi] is like Federer," Scaloni said after the Jamaica game.

    "He retired and what happened when he retired? Everybody [was] excited, everybody is thinking, 'he won't be here anymore, he's not going to play anymore'.

    "How many of us would like to see Federer play tennis? Because it was wonderful to watch him play. The same will happen with [Messi] and more, because football is a sport that moves much more.

    "So, let's enjoy him. Everyone enjoys him regardless of the country, it's wonderful to see him.

    "I have the possibility of training him, but I would be a fan, I would pay a ticket to see him and I would buy his shirt, regardless of the country.

    "So, the only thing left is to enjoy him, because I don't know if something like this will ever be repeated. So, you have to enjoy him and nothing else."

  • ‘We lost focus’ – Reggae Boyz coach Hallgrimsson believes 3-0 win flattered Argentina ‘We lost focus’ – Reggae Boyz coach Hallgrimsson believes 3-0 win flattered Argentina

    Newly appointed Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes a 3-0 scoreline might have flattered Argentina, insisting his team was made to pay for a loss in concentration in the defeat at the Red Bull stadium on Tuesday.

    Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi came off the bench to score twice as the Albiceleste, who, in truth, looked comfortable despite holding a slim 1-0 lead, blew the game wide open in the last 10 minutes.

    By the time the world-famous number 10 entered the fray, in the 56th minute, Argentina were already 1-0 up courtesy of Julian Alvarez’s tidy finish in the 13th minute. from there they had struggled to find real goalscoring momentum, that is until Messi entered the pitch.

    After stinging the palms of Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake with an early attempt, the forward made no mistake blasting his shot well to the left of the keeper, when he got another opportunity, to double the lead in the 86th minute.  However, sloppy play in midfield led to the dangerous player taking possession at the edge of the area.

    Three minutes later, there was real anxiety when the wily forward was brought down just at the top of the 18-yard box.  Those concerns were proven valid when Messi picked himself up and scored the resulting free-kick.  Again the Jamaicans might well feel dissatisfied with their defensive play, as Messi found space through a somewhat disheveled wall to beat Blake again.  The match was the first for Hallgrimsson and he believes despite the errors they were a few positives.

    “We lost 3-0 and you are never happy to lose.  Three, zero is a big number but I don’t think it reflects the game on a whole,” Hallgrimsson said.

    “It does not reflect the performance of our players, I think we showed an excellent team performance for 80 minutes and we lost a little focus in possession that led to the first and the second goal and then from that lost more focus for the third goal and that cannot happen,” he added.

    “Those were the negatives from the match.  We kept them from creating goal-scoring chances, more or less, until the 80th minute.  After 10 minutes we were finding our feet but after that, we were comfortable with how we played our defensive game.”

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.