The Wallabies are ignoring the dramas engulfing them as they vow to end their Rugby Championship campaign in style on Saturday.
The Wallabies are in a bubble, blocking out the swirling controversies and drama engulfing them as pressure mounts to deliver a victorious conclusion to the Rugby Championship on Saturday.
Nothing has gone right since the Wallabies departed South Africa with their tails between their legs after last Saturday’s 28-10 collapse against the Springboks in Cape Town.
Their reputation already soured by another Bledisloe Cup pounding, the late-game fade against the Boks and then Kurtley Beale’s in-flight verbal stoush with a team manager en route to South America further battered their image.
But after being recalled to the starting line-up, former skipper James Horwill issued a call to arms ahead of the Wallabies’ must-win showdown with Argentina.
“We’re well aware that we need to finish this tournament on a good note,” Horwill told AAP on Thursday.
“Obviously last week wasn’t good enough. At the back end of the game there, it wasn’t where we wanted to be.
“We didn’t win the Rugby Championship. That’s what we set out to do, so we haven’t done everything we wanted to do.
“So it’s positive we get a chance to finish on a high.”
Senior Wallabies players have also had to contend with accusations of disloyalty and questionable commitment during last year’s series loss to the British and Irish Lions in former coach Robbie Deans’ autobiography, released on Thursday.
But, being on tour, Horwill said much of the 29-man squad was oblivious to the firestorms spreading around them, and that would only help.
“You hear little things but the positive thing is we’re here in Mendoza and there’s not too much distraction apart from footy,” he said.
“It’s a pretty quiet town, there’s not a lot going on, so we can just focus on our footy and we’re all about getting the result, digging deep, having a real crack for each other as a team.
“We’re getting on with football, which is what we love to do, representing our country and representing people in the team.
“There’s a lot of proud people in this team.”
There’s no silverware on offer, but the Wallabies know it’s vital to regain some momentum as they look to avoid losing three straight matches under Ewen McKenzie for only the second time in his 21-Test coaching tenure.
“We want get the result, finish the Rugby Championship off on the right night before we head back home before a big Bledisloe in Brisbane in a couple of weeks’ time,” Horwill said.
“There’s still a lot of Test rugby to be played this year.”
McKenzie has endured a nightmare week, having to handle the Beale incident, deal with the squad’s lost luggage on arrival in Argentina and try to formulate a game plan to deny the hungry Pumas.
He only attended a team training session for the first time all week on Thursday, but is backing his backs-to-the-wall troops to conjure a special performance.
“This is a really difficult game; you’ve got a Argentinian team that’s been playing very well but without getting any reward for that,” McKenzie said.
“So they’ll be desperate to get some reward at the end of the championship and we’ll be desperate to make sure they don’t get that reward and we nail the championship with a good win.”