Argentina's test players have been given several days off from headcoach Daniel Hourcade. With the most demanding phase of the Rugby Championship approaching the players are to have a recovery period before resuming training on Wednesday in Buenos Aires. Hourcade is to Four players who started the test against South Africa in Salta are in doubt but signs are that they should all be fit. Options exist for the return of players to the squad from club duty either in Argentina or abroad. Some have begun their seasons well in France and await a phone call. In further encouraging news two players are set to return for injury after they missed both matches against South Africa. The squad will travel to Auckland on Friday.
Pablo Matera - The back-rower was forced from the field in Salta in just the 35th minute. He was injured in attempting to stop South Africa from scoring for the first time following a handing error from Martín Landajo well inside Springbok territory. The gift try, perhaps best defined as a 14 point try, gave the visitors a half time lead and meant Leonardo Senatore would come on much earlier than warranted. Matera is in serious doubt to tour New Zealand and Australia but as of now no confirmation of his status has been released.
Martín Landajo - The starting scrumhalf played 33 minutes before being taken off with a hamstring strain. He attempted to stay on the field after getting hurt but Daniel Hourcade took him off having seen that Landajo would not be able to keep up with play. He is very likely to be named in the touring squad but will have a tough time retaining the starting position after Tomás Cubelli came on to organize play well and score a try.
Manuel Montero - The Black Panther was taken off in the 77th minute and was attended to with a significant quantity of ice on an elbow. The extent of the injury was, nonetheless, minor and given his performance he is likely to be starting against Julian Savea in Napier.
Nicolás Sánchez - The starting fly half and arguably the leading play-maker in the Rugby Championship thus far was also replaced in the 77th minute. It was not done for tactical reason but because he had been very physical and possibly ought to have been replaced earlier. Sánchez finished the match with a sprained ankle and a strained calf. He is nonetheless expected to start at fly half against the All Blacks.
Juan Imhoff - Having played in the warm-up matches against Grenoble on the right wing Juan Imhoff had been set to start against South Africa in a new-look back-three combination with Montero and Joaquín Tuculet. He was forced out through injury though but has recovered sufficiently to now return to the squad. Imhoff is highly likely to be selected by Hourcade in the squad which will fly out from Buenos Aires on Friday.
Benjamín Macome - Argentina's leading ball-carrying back-rower, Benjamín Macome was impressive against Ireland in Resistencia but has missed the test matches since then. Having broken his arm Macome has been undergoing recovery in hope of a return to the field in time for the third section of the Rugby Championship - the home matches against New Zealand and Australia in La Plata and Mendoza. The extent of his recovery has, however, put him in the running for a place in the second phase. Macome is now set to be recalled and match-fit for Argentina's away tests against the All Blacks and Wallabies.