Sunday, October 19, 2014

Americas RC: Los Jaguares Team to face Canada A

Photo UAR
The training staff of Los Jaguares, Pablo Goméz Cora and Bernardo Urdaneta, have opted for ten changes to their team for the final round match of the Americas Rugby Championship to take place later on today in Canada. The Argentine A side defeated Uruguay 'A' 31-9 in the second round and thus claimed the Americas Rugby Championship title with one game remaining due to the USA Select XV and Canada 'A' both having a win and a loss from their opening two matches. With Daniel Hourcade set to name his squad for November on Tuesday the match against Canada 'A' is a final chance for many players to press their claims for selection.

The team features a number of players to have played starting roles for Los Pumas over the past two seasons. It is, nonetheless, a very young side with few veteran players. One veteran is hooker Matías Cortese who is to be joined by Lucas Noguera Paz and Matías Díaz in the starting front-row. All three are in contention for a place in the Pumas squad. 

With neither Juan Figallo nor Maximilano Bustos having played at all since suffering serious injuries Argentina's tighthead prop list took a battering but Ramiro Herrera and Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro performed well in the Rugby Championship. Díaz has an opportunity to be the next in line and is up against European based players such as Francisco Goméz Kodela and Nahuel Lobo. 

Hourcade could well opt for a third tighthead and he will be forced into selection changes in the second-row following the loss of Mariano Galarza who started all matches for Los Pumas in the Rugby Championship. Alemanno started against the Wallabies on the Gold Coast and is expected to be retained, possibly starting alongside Tomás Lavanini. A recall for Patricio Albacete appears out of the question while Manuel Carizza is out of favor due to a lack of form. 

Argentina could, in other words, select two different second-rowers than those involved in the Rugby Championship. Juan Cruz Guillemáin is an uncapped player that has been looked at during the Americas Rugby Championship as an option while another is Guido Petti. The two players are now strong contenders to be named for the November tour together with Alemanno and Lavanini. 

The alternative for Hourcade would be to utilize Benjamín Macome as a second-rower rather than a back-rower. It is, indeed, a realistic possibility due to the number of back-row options available. In addition to Macome all of Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, Leonardo Senatore and Juan Manuel Leguizamón are to be fit. The trio starting today against Canada 'A' could all lay claim to meriting selection.

Starting in the back-row will be Facundo Isa, Javier Ortega Desio and Los Jaguares captain Rodrigo Báez. Of them the later two were involved in the win over Australia in Mendoza. Hourcade is likely to retain both players and take five back-rowers to Europe. Isa is, however, a name not to be discarded and could also be selected. 

An interesting selection has been made in the halves as Hourcade's third choice scrumhalf, Felipe Ezcurra, will join Brian Ormson (pictured at the top right) and not Patricio Fernández. In search of better understanding the skills of Ormson and Fernández changes have seen them moving around the backline in the Americas Rugby Championship. They started together and 10 and 12 against the USA Select XV and are both options being looked at for November and beyond. 

Fernández's move to fullback underlines the thought of having a player covering both 10 and 15 on the Pumas bench. He has, in the eyes of many, come to be Argentina's likely reserve fly half for Rugby World Cup 2015. Ormson is another being tested and has been around the scene for a number of years and previously captained Los Pumitas. 

Starting in the centres will be Joaquín Paz and Juan Cruz Brex. The chances of either being called up by Hourcade are slim due to the strong showing of mid-fielders in the Rugby Championship. Similarly slots are not likely for either Dan Issack or Facundo Barrea to be called up due to Hourcade having  others such as Juan Imhoff, Horacio Agulla Manuel Montero, Lucas González Amorosino and Sanitiago Cordero as winger options.   

Lucas Noguera Paz
Matías Cortese
Matías Díaz
Juan Cruz Guillemáin
Matías Alemanno
Rodrigo Báez
Javier Ortega Desio
Facundo Isa
Felipe Ezcurra
Brian Ormson
Dan Isaack
Joaquín Paz
Juan Cruz Brex
Facundo Barrea
Patricio Fernández

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