There has been a lot of concern about the preperation of Los Pumas for The Rugby Championship with criticism directed at European clubs due to players fielded for Argentina´s June internationals against Italy and France. Argentine headcoach, Santiago Phelan, rested 24 players with them all being given time off to recover after a long season of club rugby in Europe and, before that, Rugby World Cup 2011. As such Felipe Contepomi captained a team made up of fringe players while the country´ leading players were on vacation. Overall, the home series was a success as Phelan was able to unearth some potentially exciting players for the future and Argentina won its first two test before being badly beaten by France in Tucumán.
Contepomi played all three tests in the inside centre position with Ignacio Mieres playing the first two matches at flyhalf and Benjamin Urdapilleta playing the third. None of these players, however, will feature in The Rugby Championship. Instead, Phelan has selected Nicolás Sánchez, Santiago Fernández and a returning Juan Martín Hernández. The trio all play their rugby in the Top 14 like Contepomi and one of them will likely go up against Contepomi next month as Argentina is to complete its preperation for The Rugby Championship by taking on Stade Français in two friendly matches in Argentina. It is probable that Phelan will use the matches to play his starting XV with Hernández likely to start at flyhalf and thus face off against his former captain, Contepomi.
The matches will be played on August 04 and 10. The first match will take place in Buenos Aires at a yet to be confirmed venue. The second will be played in Santa Fé at the Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao López, also known as the Cementerio de los Elefantes, the home of CA Colón. The matches will also be a send off for Los Pumas who, the following week, will take on South Africa in Cape Town in what will be Argentina´debut appearance in The Rugby Championship.