|Photo Rodrigo Vergara: Agustín Creevy will finally start for Los Pumas|
The concept rotation policy was not used whatsoever by Santiago Phelan in the 2012 Rugby Championship but one year on it is indeed alive and well. It is a policy highly favored by Graham Henry as Henry believes it is about getting the most out of ones players.
Henry championed the policy with the All Blacks to mixed effect. In 2005, for instance, Henry made a staggering fifteen changes to the starting lineup to face Ireland in November one week after facing Wales. In other words, two entirely different New Zealand teams faced and defeated top European opposition. Such a policy has been used, at times, in the Rugby Championship too but with less success. Henry opted to rotate players in the 2011 Tri Nations and consequently lost against both Australia and New Zealand on the road.
Argentina is, of course, a rugby nation with less resources than that of New Zealand. There is still no professional competition in Argentina with Los Pampas XV being the source of professionalism for the time being. With Argentina´s players either being from Los Pampas or being contracted to European clubs the possibility of utilizing player rotation has until now not been considered realistic. The influence of Henry on Phelan ahead of facing the Wallabies in Perth is therefore plain for all to see.
Some of the changes are expected while others are overdue but in naming five changes ahead of facing a top three rugby nation it is significant. One chage is injury impacted but was, nonetheless, likely. Juan Imhoff will start on the left wing and see Horacio Agulla move to the right wing in place of the injured Gonzalo Camacho. Agulla was not likely to face Australia due to his skill set not offering the same attacking options as Imhoff. The percieved Australian shortcomings were therefore in line with Imhoff replacing Agulla.
Imhoff is the only chage in the back-three while Gonzalo Tiesi wll make his first ever start in a Rugby Championship match. When Argentina was added to the competition Tiesi´s name was penciled in as the likely starting 13 but he missed the 2012 tournament through injury which saw Marcelo Bosch fill his boots and earn plenty of praise in the process. Bosch will sit the match out with Santiago Fernández being the replacement mid-fielder. Fernández has dropped back to the bench with Felipe Contepomi named to start at inside centre. He will join Nicolás Sánchez in a 10-13 while the starting scrumhalf will be Tomás Cubelli who replaces Martín Landajo. The selection of Cubelli marks his starting debut against a Tier One side and is the third scrumhaklf used in the Rugby Championship by Phelan after Nicolás Vergallo was used for half of the 2012 tournament.
A fifth change to the starting lineup for the test sees Agustín Creevy named as the starting hooker. The former Montpellier front-rower who will join the Worcester Warriors in October was set to start in the 2012 tournament but broke a rib in a warm-up fixture against Stade Français. The result was that Eusebio Guiñazú was utilized throughout the year and it is only now that Creevy will get to start. Creevy was the replacement for Mario Ledesma at Rugby World Cup 2011 and has firmly established himself as Argentina´s leading hooker. Guiñazú is slower but considered better in the scrum and lineouts than Creevy. Against Australia the scrum should not be a factor and Creevy will certainly have his long awaited chance to shine. Guiñazú no doubt has partly paid the price for a lack of discipline. He was yellow carded in the first half for the second time in three matches last Saturday. Just like in Mendoza two tries were scored while he was in the sin bin.
1 Marcos Ayerza, 2 Agustín Creevy, 3 Juan Figallo
4 Manuel Carizza, 5 Julio Farías Cabello
6 Juan Fernández Lobbe, 8 Juan Leguizamón, 7 Pablo Matera
9 Tomás Cubelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez
12 Felipe Contepomi, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi
11 Juan Imhoff, 15 Juan Martín Hernández, 14 Horacio Agulla
16 Eusebio Guiñazú
17 Nahuel Lobo
18 Juan Pablo Orlandi
19 Mariano Galarza
20 Benjamín Macome
21 Martín Landajo
22 Santiago Fernández
23 Lucas González Amorosino