Tuesday, August 14, 2012

South Africa vs Argentina - Pumas team confirmed

Earlier today Argentine rugby Headcoach Santiago Phelan has confirmed the starting lineup for Argentina´ eagerly awaited debut appearance in The Rugby Championship. The starting players are identical to the potential lineup posted here on Argentina 2023 on Sunday. It is therefore a team with few surprizes but then again, this is not entirely true. The team features ten players who started in the World Cup Quarter Final and of the fifteen starters fourteen are professionals based in either England or France. The only Argentine based player is Julio Farías Cabello who was this years captain of Los Pampas XV in the Vodacom Cup. He will start in the backnow, continuing his selection in the 6 shirt.

The selection of Rodrigo Roncero to start at loosehead prop was expected as Phelan prefers him over the younger Marcos Ayerza. But in the 2011-2012 European season it was the Leicester prop rather than the Stade Français one looking the better player. The selection of Rorro Roncero means he will earn his fiftieth cap this Saturday. He will combine with Juan Figallo in the frontrow to reform the combination from last years World Cup. The eternal Pumas hooker, Mario Ledesma retired after the Quarter Final loss against the All Blacks and his replacement was set to be Agustín Creevy but the young back-rower turned hooker is to miss the first two rounds of The Rugby Championship with a fractured rib. This has seen Eusebio Guiñazú called up to the starting lineup and he will be supported from the bench by Bruno Postiglioni. Guiñazú is very much a rugby journeyman having played professional rugby in France for Toulon, Agen, Toulouse and Biarritz. His first contract dates back to 2005. He also played in South Africa for the Stormers and Boland Cavaliers in 2010. Curiously Guiñazú has also been used as a prop on both sides of the scrum but this has not stopped Phelan from naming two specialist props amongst the reserves. Both Marcos Ayerza and Juan Pablo Orlandi can expect to recieve game time. 

The secondrow combination bares no surprizes as the Biarritz-Toulouse combination of Manuel Carizza and Patricio Albacete are set to be the genuine engine room for Argentina this Saturday. Both players had solid World Cup´ and they are potentially going to be the best secondrow combination in the tournament. Phelan has opted not to select a replacement for them. Instead he will use, Farías Cabello as a secondrower should he need to. As such Tomás Vallejos Cinalli has not been named on the bench. Instead, Phelan has opted for two specialist backrowers with Leonardo Senatore and Tomás Leonardí both taking a spot on the bench. It is a solid indication of Argentina´ gameplan which is liekly to be anything other than a ball killing aproach. 

The starting backline features the notable return of Juan Martín Hernández for the first time at test level in over three years. His miserable run of injuries appears over and his form has certainly recovered and is on the way back to where he was in the 2006-2008 period. He will join Nicolás Vergallo in the halves with his replacement in many of the tests since he got injured, Santiago Fernández, named at inside centre. But with Phelan picking five, rather than four, forwards on the bench there is no specialist flyhalf on the bench. Instead, Phelan has opted for just Martín Landajo and Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga. Landajo is a specialist scrumhalf but his inclusion was not expected two months ago. He is a PladAR player but was picked over a French based player, Agustín Figuerola. Rodríguez Gurruchaga was the starting fullback at the World Cup but has been replaced by Lucas González Amorosino who was the form fullback in France this past season. González Amorosino will join the World Cup wingers, Horacio Agulla and Gonzalo Camacho in the back-three. Rodríguez Gurruchaga will cover fullback and both centres while Bosch can move to flyhalf, fullback or inside centre, Agulla can move to outside centre or fullback and González Amorosino can move to wing. This means that there is no place for Juan Imhoff which can be described as nothing less than utterly shocking. 

Los Pumas
1 Rodrigo Roncero (49 caps)
2 Eusebio Guiñazú (18 caps)
3 Juan Figallo (9 caps)
4 Manuel Carizza (23 caps)
5 Patricio Albacete (43 caps)
6 Julio Farías Cabello (10 caps)
7 Álvaro Galindo (11 caps)
8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (43 caps)
9 Nicolás Vergallo (24 partidos)
10 Juan Martín Hernández (32 caps)
11 Horacio Agulla (34 caps)
12 Santiago Fernández (18 caps)
13 Marcelo Bosch (11 caps)
14 Gonzalo Camacho (11 caps)
15 Lucas González Amorosino (14 caps)
16 Bruno Postiglioni (6 caps)
17 Marcos Ayerza (34 caps)
18 Juan Pablo Orlandi (5 caps)
19 Tomás Leonardi (7 caps)
20 Leonardo Senatore (9 caps)
21 Martín Landajo (8 caps)
22 Martín Rodríguez (15 caps)
Entrenador: Santiago Phelan.


  1. Phelan living up to the poor selector he is. Selecting more established players ahead of form players.

    Ayerza was on better form than Roncero last season and should now be taking over as first choice loosehead prop.

    Alvaro Galindo has been injured for ages, whilst de la Vega was on good form against France, but Phelan doesn't pick the player on form.

    The omission of Juan Imhoff is disgraceful, he's hands down the most talented and exciting Pumas winger with the best try scoring record.

    And Guiñazú at hooker? He was awful in the June tests, what more did he have to do to not be selected. Surely there is a better reserve hooker than him.

    And finally, why didn't Phelan experiment with Agulla at 13 in the previous matches?

    Also Contepomi definitely deserves to be in this side after watching his quality against the Pumas for Stade Français.

    I would have selected.

    1. Ayerza
    2. Somebody who can reliably throw in straight
    3. Figallo
    4. Carizza
    5. Albacete
    6. de la Vega
    7. Fernández Lobbe
    8. Senatore
    9. Vergallo/Landajo/Cubelli
    10. Hernández
    11. Imhoff
    12. Contepomi
    13. Agulla
    14. Montero/Camacho/Bustos Moyano
    15. Amorosino

  2. Argentina needed to move on without Contepomi. Why delay the inevitable.

    However I agree that Phelan is, and always has been, a terrible selector.

    Ayerza should have been first choice by 2009. What a waste of his talent.

    Imhoff - has the X Factor - the Aussies would have selected him now because he can score from nowhere. The Pumas are too predictable. He should be in for Camacho with Agulla in his preferred 14 jersey.

    I get the point on Agulla at 13 - this should have been tried. But its too late now. My worry with the centres is who will carry the ball over the gainline? Fernandez and Bosch will also hardly worry the Boks with their lack of pace and are also suspect defensively.

    Rodriguez is also a player with the X Fcator. He should be in at 12. Or 13 - why hasnt he been tried here.

    Galindo and Carbello both too one paced to be picked in one side. De La Vega obviously has the X Fcator. Throw him in!!

    Perhaps Phelan has played it safe away from home which would make sense. Maybe he'll take more risks next week at home.