Los Pumas headcoach Santiago Phelan has confirmed his team to face New South Wales on Friday evening in the northern Argentine city of Salta. The match will be played at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, the same venue that saw a developing side face England in June in what was an official test match. Unlike on that occassion this weekends match will feature the genuine Pumas team with Phelan having all of his country´s leading players available for consideration.
The players were all available for the first match in La Plata and all squad members got game time, including the four who have been dropped ahead of the trip to South Africa. Replacing Gonzalo Tiesi at outside centre is not Marcelo Bosch but, rather, Joaquín Tuculet with the ex-Grenoble fullback being prefered by Phelan as a back-up option to Bosch. Additional chances in the backs see Juan Imhoff starting in place of Horacio Agulla, Lucas González Amorosino replacing the dropped Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga and the veteran of four Rugby World Cup´s, Felipe Contepomi, replace Santiago Fernández at inside centre. There are also changes in the forwards with Agustín Creevy having been named to start at hooker ahead of Eusebio Guiñazú and Juan Manuel Leguizamón replacing twenty year old Pablo Matera in the backrow.
The team is an overall mixture of players likely to start against South Africa on August 17 and others in need of game time ahead of the Rugby Championship. The centres combination, for instance, is highly unlikely to be retained against the Springboks. Similarly, the fullback position would appear to be more of an assesment of the counter-attacking power of the starting back-three than a tactical move ahead of facing South Africa. Should Phelan start the same trio against South Africa it would mark a significant change from his policy of prefering defensively sound players in the back-three. The selection of Hernández at flyhalf remains open to interpretation with this in mind as it means there is no place for the goal kicking ace Nicolás Sánchez in the starting lineup. He could, nonetheless, return to face South Africa as could Fernández and Bosch. Also likely to return is Patricio Albacete who is recovering from injury ahead of the tournament.
1 Marcos Ayerza, 2 Agustín Creevy, 3 Juan Figallo
4 Manuel Carizza, 5 Mariano Galarza
6 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón
9 Martín Landajo, 10 Juan Martín Hernández
12 Felipe Contepomi, 13 Joaquín Tuculet
11 Juan Imhoff, 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho
Reserves: Eusebio Guiñazú, Nahuel Lobo, Matías Díaz, Julio Farías Cabello, Pablo Matera, Tomás Cubelli, Nicolás Sánchez, Santiago Fernández, Marcelo Bosch, Horacio Agulla.