How a shock Argentina win has Wallabies poised to snap nine-year drought


The equation is simple for Dave Rennie’s side – beat Argentina in Newcastle on Saturday and at Bankwest Stadium on December 5, they will be crowned Tri Nations champions.

That’s no given based on the incredible Pumas performance to beat the Kiwis, but Australia are rested and also coming off a win over the All Blacks.

But Australia have only lost twice to Argentina at home in 16 games, in 1983 and in 2018.

“All teams have won one game now and there’s an opportunity for us on Saturday to go in front, with the All Blacks having the week off,” playmaker Reece Hodge said.

“We can really put some pressure on the last couple of matches.”

Whether Hodge is part of the starting XV which seeks to bring Argentina crashing back down to earth remains to be seen.

The Melbourne Rebels star was one of the Wallabies’ best players in their own last-start triumph against the All Blacks, having been thrust into five-eighth due to the absence of James O’Connor.

It was a performance which should see Hodge remain at No.10 but if O’Connor’s fit, the versatile 26-year-old could once again be relegated to the pine.

“It’s the age-old question, isn’t it? We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks and going forward,” Hodge said when asked if his long-term future was at No. 10.

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“I’ve played a lot of footy at No. 10 growing up – schoolboys, 20s – it’s somewhere I’m definitely comfortable.

“Getting a few weeks of training under my belt there in the lead-up to the Brisbane Test match, I felt comfortable there again. We will see what the coaches are thinking there.

“There are still a few sessions to go before we prepare for the match and it’s a bit of a cliche but genuinely, it’s been such a long build-up now that competition in the squad is really building and you can see guys are getting frustrated with not getting opportunities.

“They’re pushing really hard at training so the standard of training and the competition is unreal. Having come back into camp on Wednesday, hopefully myself and others are pushing the case to either retain or attain a starting position come Saturday.”

While Hodge makes his case to remain in the starting XV, New Zealand are reeling.

The 10-point loss to the Pumas was the first time since 2011 the All Blacks have dropped two straight games but Hodge doesn’t believe that means they have lost their aura.

“It’s up to you guys to extrapolate on that. I think you saw that in (Bledisloe Cup) games two and three, they put us to the sword,” Hodge said.

“Not reading too much into that.”

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AFL finals 2020: St Kilda turnaround, nine-year finals drought, failed rebuild, how they rebuilt, Brett Ratten, Jack Steele


It has been a torturous 3296 days since St Kilda last played finals.

The club has had three coaches and three presidents in the meantime. It moved from Moorabbin to Seaford and back again, winning 37.82 per cent of matches along the way.

Ross Lyon sacking an unaware Steven Baker after an elimination final loss to Sydney might seem like yesterday for rusted on Saints fans, but Max King was in grade five and GWS’ NEAFL captain was Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

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Lionel Messi wins nine-year fight to trademark his surname


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Footballer Lionel Messi can register his name as a trademark after a nine-year legal battle, the EU’s top court has ruled.

The European Court of Justice dismissed an appeal from Spanish cycling company Massi and the EU’s intellectual property office, EUIPO.

The Barcelona footballer first applied to trademark his surname as a sportswear brand in 2011.

But Massi argued the similarity between their logos would cause confusion.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said that the star player’s reputation could be taken into account when weighing up whether the public would be able to tell the difference between the two brands.

In doing so, it upheld a ruling by the EU’s General Court in 2018 that the footballer was too well known for confusion to arise.

Massi, which sells cycle clothing and equipment, was successful in its initial challenge to the Barcelona striker’s application. But it lost out when Lionel Messi brought an appeal to the General Court, which ruled in his favour.

Messi, 33, who wears the number 10 shirt, has been crowned world football player of the year a record six times and is the world’s highest-paid soccer player, according to Forbes. It puts his total earnings for 2020 at $126m (£97m).

In August, he made headlines by sending a fax to his club declaring his intention to leave.

But when Barcelona responded by insisting that any team that took him on would have to honour a €700m (£624m) release clause, he changed his mind, saying he did not want to face “the club I love” in court.



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