|Photo UAR: Argentina v South Africa Mendoza 2012|
Santiago Phelan has just confirmed his starting lineup to take on the Springboks this Saturday in Mendoza. It is a team featuring an improved frontrow with Marcos Ayerza havign recovered to be named at loosehead prop. His selection sees Juan Figallo return to tighthead while Mendoza´s Eusebio Guiñazú has recovered from a minor injury to be named as the starting hooker. It is not a popular decision with the majority of Pumas supporters clearly favoring Agustín Creevy as the Argentine hooker. But all the focus in the pack ahead of the game will not be on Guiñazú but, rather, on the secondrow. Both Patricio Albacete and Manuel Carizza are injured and in their place Phelan has opted to start Julio Farías Cabello and Mariano Galarza. Both players were a part of the squad for Rugby World Cup 2011 but Fariás Cabello played as a backrower.
The starting backrow for Mendoza is unchanged with 20 year old Pablo Matera joining Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Leonardo Senatore. Also unchanged are ther starting halves and centres. Martín Landajo will join Nicolás Sánchez while Felipe Contepomi retains the captaincy and will eb joined by Marcelo Bosch. The back-three features two changes with Juan Martín Hernández being forced out with injury. He is replaced at fullback by Lucas González Amorosino. The flair that González Amorosino offers Argentina will not be joined by Argentina´s best attacking winger as Phelan has dropped Juan Imhoff in a more than questionable selection to start Horacio Agulla who was less than impressive at Soccer City and whose record as a test winger is less than desirable - 4 tries in 43 tests. Imhoff, in contrast, has scored 11 tries in 15 tests. Agulla will start on the left wing with Gonzalo Camacho retaining the 14 shirt.
There are also a number of alterations to the replacements bench. Creevy is again the reserve hooker while 21 year old Nahuel Lobo will be joined by 20 year old Matíaz Díaz rather than Juan Pablo Orlandi as the second replacement prop. 20 year old Tomás Lavanini is the replacement secondrower and 27 year old Pampa Benjamín Macome is the reserve backrower. Creevy is, in other words, the only replacement forward who was also involved in the 2012 Rugby Championship. The extent of injuries in the backs is minimal in comparison with Tomás Cubelli named as the reserve scrumhalf ahead of Nicolás Vergallo who remains out of favor and is in South Africa playing Currie Cup rugby. Joining Cubelli as the replacement backs will be Imhoff and Santiago Fernández, the try scorer in the 2012 Mendoza test. Fernández provides cover at flyhalf and both centre positions.
1 Marcos Ayerza, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 3 Juan Figallo
4 Julio Farías Cabello, 5 Mariano Galarza
6 Pablo Matera, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón
9 Martín Landajo, 10 Nicolás Sánchez
12 Felipe Contepomi, 13 Marcelo Bosch
11 Horacio Agulla, 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho
16 Agustín Creevy
17 Nahuel Lobo
18 Matías Díaz
19 Tomás Lavanini
20 Benjamín Macome
21 Tomás Cubelli
22 Santiago Fernández
23 Juan Imhoff
Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe
Juan Martín Hernández