Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pumas on their way to South Africa

Right now Los Pumas are on their way to South Africa. The Argentine team is to play against the Springboks next Saturday at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town. It is to be the first match betweent the two teams in Cape Town and the sixth official test match between the countries to be played in the country. Of the previous matches the Springboks have won all official tests with Argentina´ best performance coming in 2003 when the Africans won 26-25 with a late goal from Louis Koen preventing South American glory. Argentina has not officially defeated South Africa before but in 1982 a team called the South American Jaguares defeated South Africa in Bloemfontein. All players in the South American team were from Argentina. 

Hernández Ready to Roar for Argentina
South Africa are heavy favorites for this match simply because Argentina are debuting in The Rugby Championship while South Africa has fifteen years of experience in the former Tri-Nations championship. South Africa had a three match home series against England in June and was able to play its top players and test out new ones. Argentina, on the other hand, faced Italy and France at home and did so without twenty-four European based players who were rested ahead of The Rugby Championship. All of them were rested due to an agreement made between the UAR and European clubs to prevent player burn-out. While history suggests South Africa are a much more accomplished rugby nation this is not a fair reflection of the teams as they currently stand. South Africa´ thirty-man squad is made up of twenty-nine professionals contracted to Super Rugby teams and one who plays in Northern Ireland, Ruan Pienaar. The twenty-six Pumas currently over the Atlantic Ocean features twenty-one players who played the 2011-2012 club season in Europe. 

In positions across the board Argentina has professional players and the liklihood is that the starting XV will have fourteen European based players with Los Pampas XV captain Julio Farías Cabello being the only Argentine based players. Farias Cabello is likely to form a backrow with Àlvaro Galindo and Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe. It is not a first choice backrow but is certainly one featuring  notable players. Galindo´ inclusion is injury influenced. He is likely to wear the 7 shirt in place of Juan Leguizamón who is not travelling with the team as he is currently sidelined with injury. This past Friday he was joined by Agustín Creevy who broke a rib playing for Los Pumas against Stade Français in Santa Fé. Argentina will feel the loss of both Leguizamón and Creevy but the team is otherwise at full strength. Creevy has been replaced by Bruno Postiglioni from Los Pampas XV, Postiglioni is likely to be the replacement hooker with Eusebio Guiñazú starting. Creevy is set to miss the first two matches of the tournament. Should either Guiñazú or Postiglioni need replacing then it is likely to see a call up for either Matías Cortese who played last season for Gloucester or Martín Garcia Veiga. 

Potential Lineup: 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Nicolás Vergallo, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 7 Àlvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farías Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Rodrigo Roncero

Reserves: 16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Tomás Vallejos Cinalli, 19 Tomás Leonardí, 20 Martín Landajo, 21  Federico Nicolás Sánchez, 22 Juan Imhoff

Backup Squad Members: Martín Bustos Moyano, Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Leonardo Senatore

Pumas 26 Man Squad

Tighthead Prop
Juan Figallo (Montpellier, France)
Juan Pablo Orlandi (Racing Métro, France)

Loosehead Prop
Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers, England)
Rodrigo Roncero (Unattached - to retire after The Rugby Championship)

Hooker
Eusebio Guiñazú (Unattached - turned down a contract from Biarritz)
Bruno Postiglioni (Los Pampas XV)

Secondrow
Patricio Albacete (Toulouse, France)
Manuel Carizza (Biarritz, France)
Tomás Vallejos Cinalli (Scarlets, Wales)

Backrow
Julio Farías Cabello (Los Pampas XV)
Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (Toulon, France)
Àlvaro Galindo (Racing Métro, France)
Tomás Leonardi (Los Pampas XV)
Leonardo Senatore (Los Pampas XV)

Scrumhalf
Martín Landajo (Los Pampas XV)
Nicolás Vergallo (Toulouse, France)

Flyhalf
Juan Martín Hernández (Racing Métro, France)
Federico Nicolás Sánchez (Bordeaux-Begles, France)

Centre
Marcelo Bosch (Biarritz, France)
Santiago Fernández (Montpellier, France)
Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga (Stade Français, France)

Back-Three
Horacio Agulla (Bath, England)
Martín Bustos Moyano (Montpellier, France)
Gonzalo Camacho (Exeter Chiefs, England)
Lucas González Amorosino (Montpellier, France)
Juan Imhoff (Racing Métro, France)

Injured
Agustín Creevy (hooker - Montpellier, France)
Juan Leguizamón (backrower - Lyon, France)

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