Pumas shock hands Australia Tri-Nations opportunity, says Reece Hodge
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SYDNEY – Australia will be wary of Argentina in next week's Tri-Nations test but also aware that the Pumas beating the All Blacks has opened up an opportunity for the Wallabies to get their hands on some silverware, Reece Hodge said on Sunday.
The Tri-Nations replaced the Rugby Championship this year after the withdrawal of South Africa and Argentina's 25-15 upset of the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday blew the competition wide open.
"It'd mean a lot for us to win the Tri-Nations at home in front of our own fans," Wallabies back Hodge told reporters on Sunday.
"All the teams have won one game now and there's an opportunity for us to go in front on Saturday with the All Blacks having the week off and really put some pressure on for the last couple of matches."
The All Blacks still lead the table with six points courtesy of the bonus points they picked up in the 43-5 demolition of the Wallabies in game one and the 24-22 loss to the Wallabies last weekend in Brisbane.
They have only one more match to play, however, and Australia can win a major trophy for the first time since the 2015 Rugby Championship if they can beat Argentina next week in Newcastle and at Western Sydney Stadium in early December.
That will be easier said than done on Saturday's evidence.
"You saw how much passion they played with last night, and skill also, so it's going to be a tough challenge," Hodge said of the Pumas.
"A lot of boys were watching intently and were very impressed with how the Argentina boys defended especially. Just didn't give an inch to the All Blacks at all, and yeah, they were pretty impressive. "Consistency will be one of their focuses heading into Saturday so we're expecting a massive test, it's going to be an awesome battle."