Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hernández ruled out of Mendoza test

JMH will not play in Mendoza
In a major blow to Argentina´ chances, Juan Martín Hernández has been ruled out of this Saturday´s match against South Africa in Mendoza. The Pumas flyhalf was injured in training and will not be fit for the match. Hernández was one of only two Pumas backs to get the better of South Africa in Cape Town as he and right winger Gonzalo Camacho were Los Pumas´ best attackers. He will be badly missed this weekend but should return in time for the away matches in Australia and New Zealand. His loss means Argentina are without three first choice players as hooker Agustín Creevy and backrower Juan Manuel Leguizamón have not recovered in time. Both picked up injuries earlier this month. 

Santiago Phelan is yet to confirm his replacement but it is likely to be Santiago Fernández who would move in one from inside centre. He played in the position in place of Hernández at last years Rugby World Cup, starting at 10 against Romania, Scotland, Georgia and New Zealand after playing 12 against England. He played the past two seasons mainly at flyhalf for Montpellier but as played a number of times at flyhalf in place of François Trinh-Duc. Should Fernández start at pivot then Phelan will be forced to change the starting inside centre as he had named a 10-12 combination of Hernández - Fernández. 

Phelan has two real options - Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga and Marcelo Bosch. Both have been named to start in Mendoza with Rodríguez Gurruchaga at fullback and Bosch at outside centre. Rodríguez Gurruchaga is starting in place of Lucas González Amorosino who was not able to transform his form from the Top 14 into The Rugby Championship in Cape Town. Rodríguez Gurruchaga played the entrie 2011-2012 season at inside centre for Stade Français but was Argentina´ fullback at the World Cup. Bosch has been predominantly used at 13 for Biarritz over the past two seasons but not exclusively. He has also played fullback, flyhalf and inside centre. He is a better player when he is a pivot but has had few opportunities for Argentina. He should be the player to play 12 with Rodríguez Gurruchaga playing 15. There is another option - Nicolás Sánchez at either flyhalf or inside centre. Like the other two he plays his rugby in France and went to Rugby World Cup 2011. He has, however, a lack of test experience and his best bet of playing is the bench. 

Phelan can use this opportunity to do something that has been a possibility but is yet to have eventuated - play Horacio Agulla at outside centre. This weekend is the time to make this happen and without Gonzalo Tiesi there is all the more reason to do it. Tiesi is back playing rugby. He played for his local club, SIC in the URBA Top 14 this past Saturday and scored a try. He has, however, played less than five matches since injuring his kneee in Los Pumas´ World Cup match against England. Aside from Agulla, Phelan has Bosch and Rafael Carballo as his options for outside centre position. Carballo has not played for Los Pumas since 2010 and has always been used as a winger at international level.  Agulla found himself playing 13 against England in the World Cup after both Tiesi and Contepomi were injured. Moreover, Agulla did train at times at outside centre ahead of the matches against Stade Français earlier this month. It is the choice that Phelan has to make. This will open up a place on the wing and Phelan ought to start Juan Imhoff. 

Suggested XV 
15 Martín Rodríguez (Stade Français, France)
14 Gonzalo Camacho (Exeter Chiefs, England)
13 Horacio Agulla (Bath, England)
12 Marcelo Bosch (Biarritz, France)
11 Juan Imhoff, Racing Métro, France)
10 Santiago Fernández (Montpellier, France)
9 Nicolás Vergallo (Toulouse, France)
8 Juan Martí Fernández Lobbe (Toulon, France)
7 Alvaro Galindo (Racing Métro, France)
6 Julio Farías Cabello (Los Pampas XV)
5 Patricio Albacete (Toulouse, France)
4 Manuel Carizza (Biarritz, France)
3 Juan Figallo (Montpellier, France)
2 Eusebio Guiñazú (Biarritz, France)
1 Rodrigo Roncero (Stade Français, France)

16 Bruno Postiglioni (Los Pampas XV)
17 Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers, England)
18 Juan Pablo Orlandi (Racing Métro, France)
19 Tomás De La Vega (Los Pampas XV)
20 Tomás Leonardí (Los Pampas XV)
21 Martín Landajo (Los Pampas XV) 
22 Lucas González Amorosino (Montpellier, France) 

Changes in red


  1. Really, a truly problem...Rodríguez Gurruchaga not is my favourite player for kick to posts...but not is bad as full back. Did you think in Nicolás Sanchez at fly half? . He has a very well performance in South Africa (Pampas XV) two years ago. May be an alternative. Regards.

    PS If you want, answer to me by facebook. Thanks

    1. I would say no to Tucu Sánchez. If Argentina are not going to play Imhoff then they ought to use Martín Bustos Moyano who CAN kick goals with precision.

  2. May Be...Forgive me, but I had forgotten to Bustos Moyano but he is not a good fly half. At least, the last info that I have, says that Sánchez will be the fly half. Also ( he haves the confidence of the coach Phelan...

    In one or other forms, my only hope is that the score can be only a few (not more of 12/15) points of difference in favour of the Safas...