Monday, November 5, 2012

Argentina to make massive changes for Wales?

Photo: UAR

If today´s two training sessions are anything to go by then Santiago Phelan is going to field a very experimental team for Argentina´s first match of its three test tour of Wales, France and Ireland. There were quite a number of changes and a move away from the traditional conservative play that Los Pumas have played under Phelan. The changes can be partly attributed to injury with Patricio Albacete and Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga both out of the tour. It can also be said to have been influenced by European clubs, with Biarritz not wanting Marcelo Bosch or Francisco Gómez Kodela to play for Los Pumas this weekend. But, overall the Pumas lineup as it changed today was more to do with an altered thought pattern from Phelan than outside influenced. 

Phelan made very few changes to Los Pumas throughout the duration of The Rugby Championship. He utilized the same frontrow for all matches, the same secondrow, same centres and same wingers. Now, though the side is looking different. Today´s training sessions featured mroe changes than the obvious one in the frontrow. The retirement of Rodrigo Roncero means that Marcos Ayerza´s long six year wait for the Pumas number 1 shirt is over and he trained at loosehead prop together with Eusebio Guinãzú and Juan Figallo who retained their places from The Rugby Championship. Elsewhere there were numerous changes with Juan Imhoff replacing Horacio Agulla, Juan Martín Hernández playing fullback and Nicolás Sánchez flyhalf, Gonzalo Tiesi was back at outside centre and joining him was Felipe Contepomi at inside centreJuan Manuel Leguizamón did not train today as he played for Lyon on Sunday and needed the day to recover. In his place was Leonardo Senatore, but it is likely to only be for today.
Team as it trained today in Cardiff
1 Marcos Ayerza, 2 Eusebio Guinazú, 3 Juan Figallo
4 Manuel Carizza, 5 Julio Farías Cabello
6 Tomás Leonardí, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 7 Leonardo Senatore
9 Martín Landajo, 10 Nicolás Sánchez
12 Felipe Contepomi, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi
11 Juan Imhoff, 15 Juan Martín Hernández, 14 Gonzalo Camacho


  1. I quite like the look of that team. Only changes I would make would be Creevy and Cubelli starting, but those are just minor issues.

    Hopefully Phelan has finally woken up to the Pumas main problems which have been apparent for over 2 years now.

    He has finally selected firstly a genuine goal kicker who kicks regularly for his club (Sanchez) and a genuine try scorer (Imhoff). I think with those two in the starting XV points should be easier to come by than they have been. With struggling goal kickers and no striking threat in the backs, Argentina have struggled to get the points to win matches.

    By the way in the RC, why did Rodríguez goal kick in Mendoza ahead of Sanchez? From what I've seen of Sanchez, he is a better goal kicker than him from what I've seen. Sanchez hasn't been taking long range kicks from about over 40 metres for Bordeaux though, so Hernández may still be needed for those long range efforts if it is thought Sanchez doesn't have the distance.

    They better play Sanchez and then have Contepomi or Hernández goal kick again, they have both been not at the required goal kicking level these past two years and the worst that could happen if Sanchez is given the chance to goal kick is be equally at their level.

    I am now more optimistic about this tour for Argentina now. November tours have been an utter disappointment during Phelan's reign so far, with only wins against Scotland and Italy. But with a side that actually looks like it can score points, the signs are more positive this time in my opinion.

    1. I imagine that MRG was the goalkicker instead of Sánchez for the simple face that he has been playing for Argentina since 2009.