Monday, June 10, 2013

Changes Looming for Los Pumas

Gonzalo Tiesi set to start again at outside centre

Santiago Phelan is set to make a number of changes to Argentina´s starting lineup for the second test against England this coming Saturday. The nature and extent of Argentina´s heavy defeat means that changes are natural but the question is how many exactly. According to today´s training sessions there will be up to seven. Many of Argentina´s players failed to deliver as the team was severly outplayed at the set piece with neither the scrum nor lineup functioning well.  The backs had little go forward ball but when they did they failed to break the line as the Pumas game plan was well guarded by England. 

One player who came on and had a genuine impact is Guillermo Roan who replaced Pablo Henn at loosehead prop. The Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe lookalike was better around the park and with him on the Pumas scrum was clearly better. Martín García Veiga failed to find his targets in the lineout. Whether he threw short, deep or somewhere in between England was able to pinch the throw. It was so poor that seven throws were lost. Such a statistic is unthinkable and indeed was punished with England scoring three tries from Argentina´s lineout errors. García Veiga nevertheless looks set to retain his starting place as does Maximilano Bustos. Also set to retain his place is Mariano Galarza but his secondrow partner in practice today was Benjamín Macome who is not so famous for his lineout work. Should Macome start it will be due to his scrummaging more than anything else. There should be one change in the backrow with Julio Farías Cabello and 8 Tomás Leonardí set to be joined by Rodrigo Báez. Should he start then Báez would play in the seven shirt. 

Salta prematch
There were also a host of alterations in the backs with Nicolás Vergallo training at scrumhalf in place of Martín Landajo. Vergallo looks set to join a familiar friend in the form of 35 year old Felipe Contepomi but  it is yet clear as Contepomi is recovering from the flu. Should Contepomi move to flyhalf then the inside centre position is set to be taken by Gabriel Ascárate. Back from a good season in the Pro d2 Ascárate very nearly made the squad for Rugby World Cup 2011 and reamins in the frame for 2015. As such his selection will be one of the most important of all for Argentina. The outside centre position will be retained by Gonzalo Tiesi who defensively was one of the best performers in Salta. The back-three was outplayed with Manuel Montero showing a weakness under the high ball. But it was not enough to see him dropped instead he is set to retain the 11 shirt while Matías Orlando is to be replacement by Belisario Agulla. The off-target goalkicking fulback Martín Bustos Moyano appears certain to be given another start. 

Probable Pumas team for Buenos Aires
1 Guillermo Roan, 2 Martín García Veiga, Maximilano Bustos
4 Mariano Galarza, 5 Benjamín Macome
6 Julio Farías Cabello, 8 Tomás Leonardí, 7 Rodrigo Báez

9 Nicolás Vergallo, 10 Felipe Contepomi
12 Gabriel Ascárate, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi
11 Manuel Montero, 15 Martín Bustos Moyano, 14 Belisario Agulla


  1. Admittedly I didn't see the whole game, but from what I saw in attack M. Orlando was better than Montero and he went looking for the ball more, too.

    I still feel that Leonardi is a better open-sider and where the hell is L. Senatore?

    ARG to lose narrowly this time around and then they'll take it out on Georgia the following week!

    1. Senatore is on ice until the Rugby Championship