Friday, October 10, 2014

Americas RC: Los Jaguares team v USA Select XV

Photo UAR
Los Jaguares coaches Bernardo Urdaneta and Pablo Goméz Cora have confirmed the starting lineup for the opening round match of the 2014 Americas Rugby Champinship against the USA Select XV on Saturday. Selected are a combination of experienced and young players with those involved being either Pumas or Pampas players past or present. The team is to be captained by Rodrigo Báez who earned his first start in a Rugby Championship match in Argentina's 21-17 victory over Australia in Mendoza. The match will be played in Canada on Saturday.

The players featuring in the match overwhelmingly underline a plan to prepare for Rugby World Cup 2015. Indeed those selected are a mixture of Rugby Championship players who received limited opportunities or players outside of the squad who could be classified as fringe players who could be possibly be capped upon by Daniel Hourcade.

The starting front-row is to be Lucas Nogeuera Paz, Matías Cortese and Matíaz Díaz. Noguera Paz was on the bench for three of the six Rugby Championship fixtures covering Marcos Ayerza and in the IRB Pacific Cup he was the only player involved in all matches. Matías Cortese acted as Argentina's second choice hooker behind captain Agustín Creevy in the Rugby Championship while Matíaz Díaz started a Rugby Championship test in 2013. 

The starting second-row will see two players involved with Hourcade's squad with Matías Alemanno to start alongside Guido Petti. Alemanno was a replacement throughout the Rugby Championship with the exception the test against the Wallabies on the Gold Coast which saw him starting together with Mariano Galarza. 

Rodrigo Báez started in the return fixture in Mendoza and did so due to the first choice trio of Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Pablo Matera all missing. Báez is to captain Los Jaguares from the back-row with Facundo Isa and Javier Ortega Desio joining him. Isa has experience in France with Toulon while Ortega Desio played very well from the bench against the Wallabies in Mendoza.

With Argentina's top two scrumhalves both being PladAR players neither Tomás Cubelli nor Martín Landajo are to feature in the Americas Rugby Championship. An opportunity has therefore opened up for Felipe Ezcurra who will form a 9-10 combination with Patricio Fernández, the world record hold for points scored at IRB Junior World Championships. 

Fernández is widely expected to be back-up to Nicolás Sánchez down the road, with Rugby World Cup 2015 possibly set to see him being in the team and featuring in the pool match against Namibia. Joining Fernández at 12 will be Brian Ormson, another former Pumita. Ormson captained Los Pumitas at the Junior World Championship hosted by Argentina in 2010, playing fly half. Another, Pumita, Joaquín Paz, will play outside centre. 

The starting back-three will see veteran Pampas players Román Miralles and Facundo Barrea being joined by Dan Isaak. The three have had limited  opportunities under Hourcade too date due to Argentina having had Joaquín Tuculet and Lucas González Amorosino both back from Europe early. The three have been selected to test them out and do so with Manuel Montero and Santiago Cordero both being rested. 

Lucas Noguera Paz
Matías Cortese
Matías Díaz
Guido Petti
Matías Alemanno
Rodrigo Báez
Javier Ortega Desio
Facundo Isa
Felipe Ezcurra
Patricio Fernández
Dan Isaak
Brian Ormson
Joaquín Paz
Facundo Barrea
Román Miralles

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