The Wallabies are prepared for anything the Pumas throw at them – on the field and off – in their Rugby Championship Test in Mendoza.
The mantra for their week preparing in the Argentine city has been: `Be ready for anything’ – with coach Michael Cheika repeatedly ramming home the message at training.
Last year at the same venue, Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, the signs weren’t good even before kick-off when a local opera singer butchered the national anthem in what’s become a YouTube classic.
During the match lasers were shone from the crowd at five-eighth Bernard Foley as he lined up to kick for goals.
But the real ambush came on the field when the Wallabies blew a 14-0 lead to fall to Argentina 21-17, their first loss to the Pumas since 1997.
Skipper Stephen Moore said the side was well aware of the hostile environment that came with playing in Argentina and would be ready for their match on Sunday morning (AEST).
“No matter what happens … whether the guy has a few issues with the anthem, there’s lasers … we just need to keep our focus squarely on the job,” Moore said after their final training run.
“Argentina is a unique place to play a Test; there’s all those things at play.
“It’s important for us to make sure that when you get inside those lines, the game is all that matters.”
Apart from a 2013 blow-out victory to Australia in Rosario, recent matches between the two countries have been tight.
The Wallabies believe the Pumas have pin-pointed this match as their best chance of a Rugby Championship win and would play their best line-up after their opening loss to New Zealand.
But with a swag of changes including an untested centre combination, they’re not too sure what the home side will throw at them.
Moore said one thing that was certain was that Argentine would use their set-piece as a weapon against the Australians.
He believed they would also try to target the breakdown, which was a frailty in the last-gasp win over South Africa in Brisbane last Saturday night.
“We’re not sure if this is their best side or last week is their best side,” Moore said.
“Their back row was impressive last week and we know they’re going to be strong in the scrum.
“I thought the Boks turned over too much of our ball and we’ve tried to address that in the way we’ve trained because the urgency has to be there.”
Moore missed last year’s Mendoza match after knee surgery and with a new coach in Cheika and plenty of new faces in the line-up, he said it hadn’t been revisited.
But he added that the team had still learnt a lesson from the loss.
“I think last year was a good example if you’re just slightly off your game, you can get beaten by anyone,” he said.