|Photo: UAR Marcelo Bosch and four others return from club duty|
Hot off the 26-12 victory over Wales, Argentina are likely to make changes to its starting XV for its second match of three in Europe this month. Headcoach Santiago Phelan has called in five players who were in action for their French clubs this past weekend. Argentina´s starting outside centre throughout The Rugby Championship, Marcelo Bosch has returned alongside clubmate Francisco Gómez Kodela. The Biarritz pair are being joined by Montpellier´s fullback Lucas González Amorosino and tighthead prop Nahuel Lobo while the young Stade Français secondrower Juan Cruz Guillemáin has also been called up. Two players have been cut from the squad. Injury has forced Felipe Contepomi out of action, possibly for the rest of the season and it means a probable international retirement. Juan Gómez who was a replacement from the bench against the Welsh will not feature against France.
While five new faces have arrived there are five other players who are a part of the tour party but have not been named in the squad for the French match. The selection of Nahuel Lobo is interesting considering that fellow tighthead props Maximilano Bustos and Juan Pablo Orlandi have not been named in the 30 man squad to face Les Bleus. Montpellier Winger Martín Bustos Moyano is also not included although he was forced from the field late in the first half against Toulouse on Friday. His teammate, Santi Fernández has also been left out of the squad as has Racing Métro´s Alvaro Galindo.
The non-selection of Fernández is the most interesting considering his long term involvement with Los Pumas and the injuries to Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga and Felipe Contepomi. It means that Phelan will be fielding a different player at inside centre. When Contepomi left injured against Wales Phelan moved Juan Martín Hernández from fullback to inside centre and then replaced him with Horacio Agulla in the second half due to the Racing Métro flyhalf having suffered a minor injury. A similar change could happen against France but the more likely scenario would be starting Marcelo Bosch at 12 in combination with Gonzalo Tiesi who had a very strong performance at 13 against Wales. Hernández remains in doubt but is expected to be cleared. Should be miss out then Lucas González Amorosino would start at fullback with the Joaquín Tuculet returning to the bench. Other changes in the backs are possible but not likely. The most probable would be Tomás Cubelli taking the place of Nicolás Vergallo on the bench as the replacement scrumhalf.
None of the forwards carry injury concerns and therefore Phelan could indeed retain the same eight starting forwards to face France. The performances of the players from the bench compared to those who started could well see a change at hooker as Agustín Creevy performed better than Eusebio Guiñazú after coming on in the second half at the Millenium Stadium. Francisco Gómez Kodela is likely to be on the bench as one of the two replacement props with the other being either Bruno Postiglioni or Nahuel Lobo. Given that neither Juan Pablo Orlandi nor Maximilano Bustos has been selected it could well mean that 21 year old Lobo will be named on the bench in what would be his first test appearance. Tomás Vallejos Cinalli is likely to retain his spot as the replacement secondrower while Tomás De La Vega could replace Tomás Leonardí as the replacement backrower given Leonardí´s quiet performance from the bench in Cardiff. De La Vega was a standout against France in Córdoba in June.
Possible XV for France
1 Marcos Ayerza, 2 Agustín Creevy, 3 Juan Figallo
(Leicester Tigers, ENG), (Montpellier, FRA) (Montpellier, FRA)
4 Manuel Carizza, 5 Julio Farías Cabello
(Racing Métro, FRA), (Los Pampas XV, ARG)
6 Juan M F Lobbe, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan M Leguizamón
(Los Pampas XV, ARG), (Toulon, FRA), (Lyon OU, FRA)
9 Martín Landajo, 10 Nicolás Sánchez
(Los Pampas XV, ARG), (Bordeaux-Begles, FRA)
12 Marcelo Bosch, 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 Eusebio Guiñazú (Southern Kings, RSA)
17 Bruno Postiglioni (Los Pampas XV, ARG)
18 Francisco Gómez Kodela (Biarritz, FRA)
19 Tomás Vallejos Cinalli (Scarlets, WAL)
20 Tomás De La Vega (Los Pampas XV, ARG)
21 Nicolás Vergallo (Southern Kings, RSA)
22 Horacio Agulla (Bath, ENG)
23 Lucas González Amorosino (Montpellier, FRA)
* Changes in red
Complete Argentine Squad to face France