Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Amorosino and Bosch return to Pumas side to face France

Lucas González Amorosino at training in Lille.

Santiago Phelan has made three changes for the side to play France in Lille from the side that beat Wales 26-12 in Cardiff.

Two of the changes are injury enforced. 35 year old Felipe Contepomi who became the 8th oldest player ever to play for the Pumas last weekend suffered a serious knee injury early on in the match which will keep him out for a several months, although he has said he will not retire.

Contepomi is replaced by Biarritz centre Marcelo Bosch who missed the Wales match after his club somehow managed to get him back into their squad.

Another experienced player is also missing, Juan Martín Hernández has failed to recover from the injury that forced him off against Wales just after half time and he is replaced by exciting full back Lucas González Amorosino who like Bosch was unavailable last week playing for his club in the Top 14. Which Phelan was forced to allow due to the UAR's two player per club agreement.

The third change is the most surprising one, Horacio Agulla returns to the starting XV ahead of Gonzalo Camacho who just played possibly his best match for the Pumas last weekend, where he completely shut down two big Welsh wingers who had both been scoring a lot of tries domestically this season, and added to that also superbly finished off a try.

Agulla himself did well from the bench, but given the performances of both the Argentine wingers any change to this position comes as a surprise. It is unknown whether Camacho is dropped or Phelan is just rotating, or selecting his side based on the opposition. But if Camacho is dropped then that is a baffling decision by Phelan to leave out one of the best players of the last victory.

Guiñazú again keeps his place ahead of the strong offloading Agustín Creevy and Martín Landajo is retained despite some poor passing in the last match.

There are some interesting selections on the bench however. Nahuel Lobo another player who was unavailable due to the two player per club agreement, comes into the 23 and will make his debut if he gets on the field. Lobo has been regarded as a loosehead prop by his club Montpellier, and with the Pumas lacking depth there behind the first choice Ayerza, he has a good opportunity to be the second choice to Ayerza for the forseeable future. 

Another prop Francisco Gómez Kodela also comes onto the bench, as expected ahead of Juan Gómez. Montpellier's Maximiliano Bustos still remains unluckily uncapped, despite making the Argentina squad for the World Cup and the Rugby Championship, he has only got on the field in uncapped matches. He missed the June tests because he was in the Rugby Championship squad, and missed last  week because of the two player per club agreement, when he would have been capped on both occasions.

More interestingly though, youngster Tomás de la Vega and Tomás Cubelli come onto the bench in place of Tomás Leonardí and Nicolás Vergallo.

De la Vega had a good game against France during a weakened Argentine side's victory over Les Bleus, making a number of tackles, and outplaying France's Wenceslas Lauret at the breakdown.

Cubelli meanwhile has been a star this past year for the Pampas XV and Jaguars side. Notably leading the Jaguars to victory in the Americas Rugby Championship.

Both de la Vega and Cubelli are poised for bright futures with the Pumas, and it will be interesting to see how they do from the bench against France. Phelan is a typically conservative selector, so it is a surprise to see both these names added ahead of the players who played in the Rugby Championship.

Argentina XV to face France:

1. Marcos Ayerza (Leicester, 38 caps, 5 points)
2. Eusebio Guiñazú (Southern Kings, 25 caps, 5 points)
3. Juan Figallo (Montpellier, 16 caps, 5 points)
4. Manuel Carizza (Racing-Métro, 30 caps, 5 points)
5. Julio Farías Cabello (Pampas XV, 17 caps, 10 points)
6. Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (captain, Toulon, 50 caps, 20 points)
7. Juan Manuel Leguizamón (Lyon, 44 caps, 35 points)
8. Leonardo Senatore (Pampas XV, 15 caps, 10 points)
9. Martín Landajo (Pampas XV, 15 caps, 5 points)
10. Nicolás Sánchez (Bordeaux-Bègles, 6 caps, 20 points)
11. Juan Imhoff (Racing-Métro, 12 caps, 55 points)
12. Marcelo Bosch (Biarritz, 16 caps, 16 points)
13. Gonzalo Tiesi (SIC, 31 caps, 40 tries)
14. Horacio Agulla (Bath, 41 caps, 20 tries)
15. Lucas González Amorosino (Montpellier, 20 caps, 20 points)

16. Agustín Creevy (Montpellier, 20 caps)
17. Nahuel Lobo (Montpellier, Uncapped)
18. Francisco Gómez Kodela (Biarritz, 6 caps, 5 points)
19. Tomás Vallejos (Scarlets, 3 caps)
20. Tomás de la Vega (Pampas XV, 5 caps, 5 points)
21. Tomás Cubelli (Pampas XV, 10 caps, 15 points)
22. Gonzalo Camacho (Exeter, 18 caps, 30 points)
23. Joaquín Tuculet (Grenoble, 4 caps)

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