Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hernández and Leguizamón boost Pumas

Leguizamón to start.
Photo: Rodrigo Vergara
Santiago Phelan has not wasted any time in naming his starting lineup for Argentina´s third round match of The Rugby Championship. The former Pumas backrower has, as expected, recalled the French based pair of Juan Martín Hernández and Juan Manuel Leguizamón. Hernández missed out on playing in the 16-16 draw against South Africa due to a  minor injury while Leguizamón missed both matches against South Africa. With both players back Argentina is at full strength for the first time since 2008. Incredibly, Argentina has been unable to call upon its leading players all together since then. Injuries have taken their toll. Limited oppotrtunities complicated matters further with Argentina playing often only in Novemebr with all its players avaliable. The late finish to the French Top 14 prevented many players from playing in June tests while in 2012 none of the foreign based contingent in the Pumas squad played against Italy or France.

The team to face new Zealand this Saturday features one first choice player not in the starting lineup. Agustín Creevy is fit for the match but will not start due to the good form shown by Eusebio Guinãzú against South Africa. Phelan has otherwise held back from making any changes as all the players performed well in the previous match in Mendoza. The teams substitutes are not yet known and the make up of them could be one of two varieties. It could feature two props and only two backs like in Cape Town or it could feature two speedy backs like in Mendoza.

The luxury of having flyhalves playing in the centres is that Argentina need not have a replacement. Both Santi Fernández and Marcelo Bosch are natural flyhalves and both have played in the position for their French clubs - Montpellier and Biarritz. Consequently it is probable that Nicolás Sánchez will not make the bench. Instead, as in Mendoza, Phelan could have both Juan Imhoff and Lucas González Amorosino. Joining them will probably be Martín Landajo as replacement scrumhalf and four forwards. Marcos Ayerza will be the replacement prop. He is a specialist loosehead prop but has started at tighthead for his country, including in Argentina´s win over England in 2009. Creevy will be the replacement hooker while Phelan will likely opt for two backrowers instead of one and a secondrower. Julio Farías Cabello will, if need be, move to the secondrow during the match while  Tomás Leonardí and Leonardo Senatore are likely to be on the bench.

Hernández replaces Felipe Contepomi as the only change to the backline that faced New Zealand in the World Cup Quarter Final last October. The forwards are also similar. The changes to the team from that evening are Guinãzú in place of the retired Mario Ledesma and Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe in place of Leonardo Senatore. Fernández Lobbe missed out after injurying his knee against Scotland in a Pool match. The combination of Fernández Lobbe and Leguizamón will be key to Argentina´s ability to counter New Zealand in the loose forward battle. 

Los Pumas
15 Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga
14 Gonzalo Camacho
13 Marcelo Bosch
12 Santiago Fernández
11 Horacio Agulla
10 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe
9 Nicolás Vergallo
8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe
7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón
6 Julio Farías Cabello
5 Patricio Albacete
4 Manuel Carizza
3 Juan Figallo
2 Eusebio Guinãzú
1 Rodrigo Roncero

Reserves to be confirmed on Friday, New Zealand time.

1 comment:

  1. lock and load you beautiful sons of bitches we are about to take on the biggest game and team in all of sports history !!!!