Thursday, March 5, 2015

Super Rugby: Blues v Pampas XV Teams Confirmed

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In the second of two World Rugby Pacific Challenge warm-up fixtures the Pampas XV will take-on the Auckland based Super Rugby franchise, the Blues on Friday. The Pampas XV is coming off a 24-24 draw v the 'A' side of the current Super Rugby champions the Waratahs. The Pampas XV held a convincing first half lead but failed to score in the second half. Coached Raúl Pérez and Martín Gaitán have opted for four changes with Santiago Cordero, Lucas Noguera Paz, Santiago Iglesias Valdéz and Martín Landajo all set to start. Landajo is to captain the South Americans from scrumhalf with Tomás Cubelli dropping to the bench.  

The side named by Pérez and Gaitán is arguably the best available Pampas XV team. There are players missing due to injury and suspension but, that aside, the team named is close to the genuine Pampas XV side expected to start in the Pacific Challenge in Fiji this month. 

Leading the team will be Martín Landajo who became Argentina's number two scrumhalf in 2014 after Tomás Cubelli impressed to move ahead of him. This one selection in the side to face the Blues is all that prevents the team from being the strongest product possible at this point in time. Landajo will form a halves combination with Santiago González Iglesias, a player pushing for further opportunities at international level after having worked well as a replacement back in 2014. 

The mid-field combination remains unchanged to that which started against Gen Blue in Sydney. Jerónimo De la Fuente and Matías Moroni are both in the frame for Rugby World Cup 2015 selection and are ahead of European based players. The same is true of Manuel Montero who is to start on the left wing. He will be joined in the back-three by Santiago Cordero and Ramiro Moyano. 

With back-rower Pablo Matera seeing out the remainder of his suspension Javier Ortega Desio and Tomás Lezana remain as the starting flankers. They are to be joined by Facundo Isa at the back of the scrum. All four, including Matera, are very much strong contenders for Argentina's Rugby World Cup squad. The starting second-rowers are also contenders but Argentina has greater depth at present in the position to suggest that Guido Petti and Matías Alemanno are playing against one-another for the same spot.

Up front the Pampas XV will have reserve players for Los Pumas involved. Lucas Noguera Paz is considered the prime contender to replace Marxcos Ayerza who is set to retire from international duty after the World Cup. Joining him will be Matías Díaz and Santiago Iglesias Valdéz. The three former Pumitas are popular with Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade. 

The match between the Blues and Pampas XV is to kick-off at 3:00am Argentine time on Friday. 

Pampas XV
Nick Mayhew
Lucas Noguera Paz
Matt Moulds
Santiago Iglesias Valdéz
Sione Malifeo
Matías Díaz
Calum Rettalick
Matías Alemanno
Will Lloyd
Guido Petti
Joe Edwards
Tomás Lezana
Kara Pryor
Javier Ortega Desio
Airi Hunt
Facundo Isa
Jake Ashby
Martín Landajo
Matt McGahan
Santiago González Iglesias
Tevita Li
Manuel Montero
Pita Ahki
Jerónimo De La Fuente
Matt Vaega
Matías Moroni
Bem Lam
Ramiro Moyano
Matt Wright
Santiago Cordero
Greg Pleasants Tate
Julián Montoya
Fraser Armstrong
Lucas Martínez
Marcel Renata
Gerónimo Albertario
Gerard Tuioti-Mariner
Lisandro Ahualli
Josh Blucher
Aníbal Panceytra Garrido
Raniera Takarangi
Tomás Cubelli
Troy Gilbert
Javier Rojas
Liam Steel
Román Miralles
Scott Scrafton
Bruno Postiglioni
Nick Smith
Santiago García Botta

Facundo Bosch

Felipe Ezcurra

Emiliano Boffelli

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