Rugby-Pumas have potential to burst Wallabies bubble, says Hooper

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - Australia Captain's Run - Oita Stadium, Japan - October 18, 2019 Australia's Michael Hooper during Captain's Run. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Wallabies are riding high after two wins over world champions South Africa but captain Michael Hooper thinks Argentina will be no less of a challenge in Townsville on Saturday.

The Pumas have lost all four of their Rugby Championship tests this season, conceding 136 points and scoring only 35 in two matches against the All Blacks and two against the Springboks.

After a rare win over the All Blacks last year, Hooper captained Australia to two draws against the South Americans and so knows well that taking the Pumas lightly is foolhardy.

"Argentina pose very different threats but (are) no less dangerous, when they are 'on', they're a hard team," Hooper told reporters on Friday.

"I think in the games they've played, even though the score might not suggest it, they've made the All Blacks work and made if difficult for them at times, and we've got to be on our game tomorrow."

Australia were their own worst enemies at times against the Pumas last season, allowing themselves to be drawn into a dogfight and giving up too many penalties.

"They can hurt you if you're sloppy," Hooper added.

"If your discipline is not good, as it wasn't sometimes last year, they go three-six-nine on the scoreboard and then all of a sudden you're chasing a game."

The 113-cap flanker was also wary of Australia getting ahead of themselves in their quest for the brand of rugby they want to be identified with the Wallabies.

"Confidence and belief are high," he said. "The pitfalls of that are not sticking to that, and moving away from the game plan you're trying to develop.

"Off two losses, you're trying to find that solution. Then you get that solution and it's 'okay how do you grow that'. It's being comfortable with working at the little things, not looking for miracle passes or anything like that.

"Building a performance is something we need to keep working at."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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