They probably have the stats for the highest turnovers
Argentina's first year in the expanded Rugby Championship is making an impression on Australia hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau.
Polota-Nau said the big, aggressive Argentine forwards pose even bigger problems for opposing teams at the scrum and breakdown, and rated them as good as the world champion All Blacks and South Africa.
"It's on par, but if anything better," the 37-test veteran said ahead of Australia's match Saturday against Argentina, the first Test to be played on the Gold Coast.
"They probably have the stats for the highest turnovers and it's because of all their forwards working so well in the defensive area and creating such a mess at the breakdown. Technically if we're not sound we'll get punished."
Argentina troubled first-place New Zealand in their match last weekend in Wellington, trailing by a point at half-time before losing 21-5, and played to a 16-all draw at home against South Africa. The Pumas will be looking for their first win of the competition, while the Wallabies secured their first win last weekend over South Africa after losing twice to the All Blacks.
Argentina prop Marcos Ayerza says his team sees scrum dominance as a mental and physical boost.
"It's historically been a main objective for any Argentinian team, to have a solid scrum and build from that psychological domination, and we're trying to bring that back," he said.
"From that dominance, even if it might be an inch, you start building your confidence with every part of the game."
Australia goes into the match without stand-in captain and scrumhalf Will Genia, who underwent knee surgery this week and is one of four major injuries to have hit the team this season. James Horwill and David Pocock preceded Genia with injuries as captain, while backline star James O'Connor is also out.
With eight tests still to play in 2012, O'Connor could return on Oct. 20 against New Zealand, but the three captains won't return to action until next year.
Nathan Sharpe will become the fourth captain for Australia this year when he takes over for Genia, while Nick Phipps has slotted into the halfback role. Berrick Barnes shifts from centre to fullback to replace Kurtley Beale, who was relegated to the bench. Pat McCabe will return from injury and start at inside centre.
In the second row, Sharpe will partner Kane Douglas, who replaces the injured Sitaleki Timani and will become the 10th Wallabies debutant in eight tests.
Argentina made two changes to its lineup, at halfback and fullback. Martin Landajo has been named at scrumhalf ahead of Nicolas Vergallo and Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino at fullback, replacing Martin Rodriguez.
Lock and vice-captain Patricio Albacete has been named to play his 50th test.
The Pumas' only win over the Wallabies in Australia was on their first visit, when the great Hugo Porta inspired them to an upset 18-3 win at Brisbane's Ballymore in 1983.