In a similar fashion to the Springboks, Argentina really didn't have a clue on attack. They looked alright when they kept it in close and looked to out-muscle their opponents. But when they tried to move it wide they made far too many errors to be threatening. On the occasions where they did put something together, they looked brilliant, but unfortunately these were far and few between and didn’t make up for the countless chances squandered.
The Argentine side defended well in five of their six games, with the obvious black mark being the 54-15 hiding they took from the All Blacks where they leaked seven tries. Other than this, they held up well, proving particularly strong in close where they were physical and drove teams back.
It was this that enabled them to stay competitive with the All Blacks in diabolical conditions in Wellington and was also the main catalyst behind a 16-all draw with the Springboks. However, when they were forced to defend wider they struggled, falling off tackles and in the case of the All Blacks game, leaking seven tries.
The back line showed glimpses of brilliance, looking dangerous at times, and showed their worth with their first try against the All Blacks in La Plata. But they didn't show it enough to warrant a higher grade, and like South Africa, really need to be operating on a much more consistent basis to make the most of a good forward pack. They simply made too many mistakes which need to be stamped out of their game sooner rather than later.
Forward play has been the traditional strength of Argentinian rugby, and so it was again in 2012. Their big pack proved physical and committed as they tried to work their backs into positions to score from. They were strong at set piece time, tackled fiercely and competed well at ruck time. Not much else you could ask from your forward pack. Like the Springboks though, their fitness could be better, as it was evident the pace of the game caught up to them in La Plata.
For their first year in the competition, they didn't perform badly. No one was expecting them to be an overnight success, and that they remained competitive in five of their six games. This shows that they indeed deserve to be there.
The highlight was undoubtedly the draw against the Springboks, a game that they could have easily won. Whilst they will look back on their game in Australia as the one that got away, looking ahead they will need to continue to adapt to the pace of the international game and continue to develop their back play, both of which will come with more experience.
Give them a couple of years and they could very well be competing for the title.