Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rugby Championship: All Blacks and Pumas Teams Named

Photo UAR
The lineups of both the All Blacks and Los Pumas were announced on early Thursday, New Zealand time. Both coaches have opted for changes to their respective teams with there being notable selections by both Steve Hanson and Daniel Hourcade. Hanson has opted against risking fly half Aaron Cruden which sees Beauden Barrett selected at fly half for the first time. With rain set to be a dominant feature of the test match in Napier the chances of a similar style of play from either side to that which was produced in Salta and Auckland in the second round appear remote.

In an effort to stop the try scoring sensation that is Julian Savea Hourcade has selected his stronest defensive winger on the right wing. The All Black will be up against veteran Puma Horacio Agulla who is one of two changes from the side that narrowly lost against South Africa in Salta. Agulla joins Joaquín Tuculet and Lucas González Amorosino in the back-three with Manuel Montero missing out. 

Montero will not receive any game time after Hourcade opted to instead name Juan Imhoff on the bench. Imhoff is the only back involved who is yet to make an appearance in the Rugby Championship this year. Having impressed against Grenoble in the warm-up fixtures Imhoff had appeared certain to start on the right wing against the Springboks but Hourcade will use him in a different capacity in Napier. 

Argentina's second change to the team is similar. With Pablo Matera having had his tournament ended with a shoulder dislocation Hourcade has decided against replacing him with Benjamín Macome. The form of Macome against Ireland in June was impressive but Leonardo Senatore and Rodrigo Báez have both been training at full strength with the team and Hourcade will thus use them and not Macome this weekend.

Senatore is to start at the back of the scrum which sees Juan Leguizamón moving to the side of the scrum in place of Matera. Báez will be the replacement back-rower, taking over from Senatore. Should he receive game time it would be a debut Rugby Championship appearance. His selection is one of two changes to the replacement forwards as Lucas Noguera Paz comes back in place of Bruno Postiglioni.

Alterations to the home team see Beauden Barrett starting at fly half for the first time in his international career. Despite having previously featured off the bench on numerous occasions at fly half his only two test starts, out of twenty-two caps, have been at fullback against Italy in 2012 and Japan in 2013. His selection sees the reserve fly half spot taken by Colin Slade. 

Additional changes to the New Zealand lineup see Ma'a Nonu back to fitness and named at inside centre, thus establishing a new 10-12 combination with Barrett. A positional shift out wide sees Ben Smith moving to the right wing with Israel Dagg given another opportunity at fullback. Prop Joe Moody and second-rower and Jeremy Thursh have also been selected replacing Charlie Faumuina and Steven Luatua on the bench.

Wyatt Crockett
Marcos Ayerza
Dane Coles
Agustín Creevy
Owen Franks
Ramiro Herrera
Brodie Retallick
Mariano Galarza
Sam Whitelock
Tomás Lavanini
Liam Messam
Juan Manuel Leguizamón
Richie McCaw
Juan Fernández Lobbe
Kieran Read
Leonardo Senatore
Aaron Smith
Martín Landajo
Beauden Barrett
Nicolás Sánchez
Julian Savea
Lucas González Amorosino
Ma’a Nonu
Juan Martín Hernández
Conrad Smith
Marcelo Bosch
Ben Smith
Horacio Agulla
Israel Dagg
Joaquín Tuculet
Keven Mealamu
Matías Cortese
Ben Franks
Lucas Noguera Paz
Joe Moody
Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Jeremy Thrush
Matías Alemanno
Sam Cane
Rodrigo Báez
TJ Perenara
Tomás Cubelli
Colin Slade
Santiago González Iglesias
Malakai Fekitoa
Juan Imhoff

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