Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Argentine team confirmed to face Wales

Photo: UAR Gonzalo Tiesi returns after 14 months to start at outside centre
After making conservative selections throughout The Rugby Championship Los Pumas headcoach, Santiago Phelan has thrown a curve ball in naming a much changed side to face Wales on Saturday. There are changes in all general areas with different players starting in the frontrow, secondrow, backrow, flyhalf, centres, wing and fullback. Of the fifteen players that started against Australia in Rosario last month only seven are starting in the same position. 

The team has undergone some changes to to external factors. Rodrigo Roncero hung up his boots following the sixth and final match of The Rugby Championship and his long term colleague, Patricio Albacete is missing due to injury. means that Phelan is without four Pumas due to injury. The other notable player unavaliable is Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga who underwent shoulder injury in October. But Argentina is well served in the centres and at fullback and should be able to make due without the Stade Français star. The loss of Albacete, however creates a gigantic hole in terms of quality, leadership and experience. His deputy from Rugby World Cup 2011, Mariano Galarza is also injured. This has meant a re-shuffle with Julio Farías Cabello moving to the secondrow to join the new Racing Métro recruit Manuel Carizza. The Welsh based Tomás Vallejos Cinalli will provide secondrow cover from the bench. 

Captain Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe will earn his 50th cap. He will be partnered by Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Leonardo Senatore who is starting in the unusual position of blindside flanker. Senatore is a traditional #8 but will start at 6 in place of Julio Farías and ahead of both Tomás Leonardí and Tomás De La Vega. Leonardí has been selected as the replacement backrower after impressing from the bench throughout The Rugby Championship. He will wear the #20 shirt rather than the #19 however. This is due to the IRB now having given clearance to having 23 man teams to have two props amongst the replacements. This policy plays into Argentina´s hands nicely. Phelan has utilized a five man forwards bench on numerous occassions which has meant he has had to sacrifice one replacement back. With Marcos Ayerza starting he has the Argentine based pair of Juan Gomez and Bruno Postiglioni on the bench alongside Montpellier hooker Agustín Creevy. Juan Figallo will continue at tighthead prop and will be the only survivor in the front five from the team that faced Wales in Cardiff in August 2011. On that occassion Figallo was a surprize starter ahead of the veteran Martín Scelzo. The hooker for this Saturday´s match will be Eusebio Guiñazú who is in favor after having been very reliable in the scrums and lineouts in The Rugby Championship. 

Los Pampas XV scrumhalf Martín Landajo continues on at scrumhalf and will be joined by Nicolás Sánchez at flyhalf with the Bordeaux-Begles pivot forcing a change with Juan Martín Hernández moving to fullback to start there for the first time since 2006 for Argentina. The move is no oubt motivated in large part due to the injury to Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga and more so due to the non-avaliability of Lucas González Amorosino who will be playing for Montpellier and not Argentina this weekend. Hernández will be a part of an exciting back-three which includes Juan Imhoff on the left wing ahead of Horacio Agulla and Gonzalo Camacho on the right wing. Phelan appears to be acknowledging that the tam lacked sufficient attack in The Rugby Championship and also that he is willing to chance his arm more against European than SANZAR opposition. 

35 year old Felipe Contepomi has completed an unlikely return after having not initially been named in Argentina´s squad for the November internationals. He returns due to Marcelo Bosch and Santiago Fernández bothmissing out this weekend. Bosch will play for Biarritz and Fernández will play for Montpellier, probably at flyhalf. Whould this be the case it would be an irony due to the club´s pivot, François Trinh-Duc being on international duty, but for France. Contepomi will be joined by Gonzalo Tiesi. The pair were the starting centres v Wales last August and v England in Argentina´s first match of Rugby World Cup 2011. Both were injured in the match however with Tiesi having to undergo knee surgery. After having returned from Stade Français to Buenos Aires his remarkable recovery sees him starting for Los Pumas.

An interesting question is goalkicking. With Contepomi starting Hernández will not be the kicker but Sánchez should certainly be in consideration and stands a very good chance of being the teams goal kicker. 

Argentina Team

Marcos Ayerza, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú3 Juan Figallo
(Leicester Tigers, ENG), Southern Kings, (RSA) Montpellier (FRA)
4 Manuel Carizza5 Julio Farías Cabello 

(Racing Métro, FRA), (Los Pampas XV, ARG)
6 Leonardo Senatore8 Juan M F Lobbe, 7 Juan M Leguizamón
(Los Pampas XV), (Toulon, FRA), (Lyon OU, FRA)

9 Martín Landajo10 Nicolás Sánchez
(Los Pampas XV, ARG), (Bordeaux-Begles, FRA)
12 Felipe Contepomi, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi
(Stade Français, FRA), (SIC, ARG)
11 Juan Imhoff , 15 Juan M Hernández, 14 Gonzalo Camacho
(Racing Métro, FRA), (Racing Métro, FRA), (Exeter Chiefs, ENG)

16 Agustín Creevy (Montpellier, FRA)
17 Bruno Postiglioni (Los Pampas XV, ARG)
18 Juan Gómez (Los Pampas XV, ARG)
19 Tomás Vallejos Cinalli (Scarlets, Wales)
20 Tomás Leonardí (Los Pampas XV, ARG)
21 Nicolás Vergallo (Southern Kings, RSA)
22 Horacio Agulla (Bath, ENG)
23 Joaquín Tuculet (Grenoble, FRA)

Missing due to French Club Duty
Lucas González Amorosino (Montpellier)
Marcelo Bosch (Biarritz)
Maximilano Bustos (Montpellier)
Santiago Fernández (Montpellier)
Alvaro Galindo (Racing Métro)
Francisco Gómez Kodela (Biarritz)
Juan Cruz Guillemáin (Stade Français)
Nahuel Lobo (Montpellier)
Esteban Lozada (Agen)
Martín Bustos Moyano (Montpellier)
Juan Pablo Orlandi (Racing Métro)

Patricio Albacete (Toulouse)
Rafael Carballo (Bordeaux-Begles)
Mariano Galarza (Los Pampas XV)
Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga (Stade Français)

1 comment:

  1. Despite the many changes on the line up, how would the experience playing in the Rugby Championship help the Pumas on their November tour against Northern Hemisphere rugby teams? I can only see positive effect since many players are plying their trade in Europe.

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