Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Daniel Hourcade Names Altered Pumas Lineup to Face England

Photo Norte Rugby: Juan Leguizamón Celebrates Defeating Scotland in RWC 2011
Daniel Hourcade has announced his first ever Argentine international team for a test match and has already left his park, at least partially as there have been changes to the team that finished the Rugby Championship winless last month in Rosario. Some are injury motivated while in other cases Hourcade has moved pieces as the new era begins twenty-two months ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015.

The starting lineup is to feature Maximilano Bustos replacing the injured Juan Figallo at tighthead prop. The change is notable due to Bustos not having been selected for the Rugby Championship. Bustos was fourth choice behind Figallo, Matías Díaz and Juan Pablo Orlandi. Both Díaz and Orlandi are in the squad but neither was used as the run-on tighthead prop. Bustos trained with Marcos Ayerza and Eusebio Guiñazú in the front-row. The pair started throughout the Rugby Championship with Guiñazú only being benched for the Perth test.  

The second-row will see former vice-captain Patricio Albacete not being joined by Manuel Carizza but rather by Mariano Galarza with the Worcester Warriors second-rower having had a good time in 2013 after missing out in 2012 due to injury. Galarza was not given many opportunities by Phelan who opted to play Julio Farías Cabello in the second-row but Hourcade is set to return the Tucumán veteran to the back-row to play on the side of the scrum. Farías Cabello will start in the position in a trio that also includes captain Juan Manuel Leguizamón playing at the back of the scrum and Pablo Matera on the other side. 

The starting back-line features a key alteration as Martín Landajo has failed to retain the scrum-half position . Hourcade has decided to start Tomás Cubelli who certainly has made a bigger impact than that of Landajo for Los Pampas XV over the past two seasons in the Vodacom Cup. Cubelli is to form a halves combination with Bordeaux-Belges pivot Nicolás Sánchez who will play fly half.

The mid-field combination is changed but not unfamiliar as Santiago Fernández and Marcelo Bosch are set to reform the combination that Phelan used throughout much of 2012. He made changes in 2013 due to the availability of Felipe Contepomi and Gonzalo Tiesi. The back-three, meanwhile sees Joaquín Tuculet left out with Hourcade giving a start to Lucas González Amorosino ahead of the uncapped 19 year old Santiago Cordero. The wingers set to start will be Juan Figallo and Horacio Agulla with Cordero on the bench.

In general the bench is to be highly inexperienced. The replacement hooker is Santiago Iglesias Valdez who captained Argentina earlier this year in the IRB Junior World Championship. The young Nahuel Lobo is one of the two replacement props with the other being Juan Pablo Orlandi. Manuel Carizza is the most experienced replacement having earned 38 test caps. Carizza will cover the second-row while Tucumán´s Benjamín Macome wll be the replacement back-rower. Carriza´s cap total is one more than the 27 to the name of Gonzalo Tiesi who is a replacement mid-fielder. With Tiesi selected there is no reserve fly half but both Fernández and Bosch have started against Tier One opposition in the Pumas 10 shirt. 

Of the twenty-three players to face England ten have expeience playing their rugby in the Aviva Premiership . Six of the players currently do so - Ayerza, Guiñazú, Galarza, Matera, Bosch and Agulla. For their part the likes of Farías Cabello, Leguizamón and González Amorosino have all previously played in England too. Gonzalo Tiesi will return to play in the Aviva Premiership after November test duty. His destination is to be the Newcastle Falcons.

1 Marcos Ayerza, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 3 Maximilano Bustos
(Leicester, England), (Bath, England), (Montpellier, France)
4 Mariano Galarza, 5 Patricio Albacete
(Worcester, England), (Toulouse, France)
6 Pablo Matera, 8 Juan Leguizamón, 7 Julio Farías 
(Leicester, England), (Lyon, France), (Tucumán RC)

9 Tomás Cubelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez
(Belgrano), (Bordeaux-Begles, France)
12 Santiago Fernández, 13 Marcelo Bosch
(Bayonne, France), (Saracens, England)
11 Juan Imhoff, 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Horacio Agulla
(Racing Métro, France), (Oyonnax, France), (Bath, England)

16 Santiago Iglesias Valdez (Uni Tucumán)
17 Nahuel Lobo (Unattached)
18 Juan Pablo Orlandi (Bath, England)
19 Manuel Carizza (Stormers, South Africa)
20 Benjamín Macome (Tucumán)
21 Martín Landajo (C.A.S.I)
22 Gonzalo Tiesi (Newcastle, England)
23 Santiago Cordero (Regatas)

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