|Santiago Cordero will play left wing|
Preparation for the Pacific Cup is well under way with Los Pampas XV set to play a pre-tournament friendly in Perth against the Western Force on Friday. The South Americans arrived in Western Australia earlier in the week and are now into the final preperations for the Pacific Cup which sees the Argentine side play in the competition instead of South Africa´s Vodacom Cup.
The Argentine side is a combination of youth and experience, players exposed to professionalism and new comers with possible long term futures as Pumas. The starting fly half to face the Western Australian Super Rugby franchise will be 19 year old Patricio Fernández. The Rosario pivot is expected to be a part of Danel Hourcade´s plans in 2014 as are Javier Rojas and Sanitago Cordero who both featured on the November tour of England, Wales and Italy.
The three backs will be joined by captain Martín Landajo at scrumhalf in addition to Matías Orlando and Román Miralles who have received game time for Argentina in June test matches. Miralles is one of the most experienced players with another veteran being former Gloucester hooker Matías Cortese. With Argentina in need of having more options at hooker there will be special attention given to Cortese who played test rugby for Argentina as far back as in 2005. He will start ahead of Santiago Iglesias Valdez who is one of fifteen players on the bench.
One of the most notable reserves is Facundo Isa who impressed for Los Pumitas at the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship in France and subsequently joined Toulon. He was released to play in the Pacific Cup as was another from the tournament - Racing Métro´s Tomás Lavanini who will start in a second-row combination that has the potential to be a future duo at test level. Joining Lavanini will thethe uncapped 22 year olf Matías Alemmano.
Strength on the bench sees Isa be joined by a number of notable players who have previously played for Los Pampas XV or for Argentina on the IRB World Sevens Circuit. Manuel Montero is back from the knee injury suffered against England last June while Tomás Carrió and Matías Moroni both boosted their reputations in 2013.
The Western Force is not holding back as a number of notable players are in the team to face Los Pampas including Nick Cummins, Matt Hodgson, Ben McCalman and the USA eligible Marcel Brache. The match is a warm-up fixture for the Perth based Super Rugby side ahead of the demanding season while the Argentine players will start their Pacific Cup campiagn on March 2 against the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.
PAMPAS XV: 1 Lucas Noguera Paz, 2 Matías Cortese, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 4 Tomás Lavanini, 5 Matías Alemmano, 6 Rodrigo Báez, 7 Tomás de la Vega, 8 Antonio Ahualli de Chazal, 9 Martín Landajo (captain), 10 Patricio Fernández, 11 Santiago Cordero, 12 Javier Rojas, 13 Matías Orlando, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 15 Román Miralles.