Friday, May 22, 2015

International Rugby: Experimental Pumas named to face Paraguay

Los Pumas head coach Daniel Hourcade has named an experimental team to face Paraguay in an away test match on Saturday. A total of eight changes have been made from the team that played away against Uruguay last weekend. The fixture is the second of two for the CONSUR Cup with a win for Argentina to confirm the country as the 2015 South American Champion. Paraguay earned the right to contest the CONSUR Cup by finishing in the top two of the 2014 South American Championship. In 2016, however, Chile will be back joining Uruguay and Argentina.  

Seeking to play the match of their lives Los Yakares of Paraguay are to play host to the number one team from the Americas, Argentina. The match is a dream come to for the Paraguayan rugby union and players as the country can welcome a team featuring many players certain to be involved in Los Pumas' Rugby World Cup campaign. 

The lineup named to face Paraguay is not a full-strength team as players based abroad remain unavailable outside of the official World Rugby international release windows. There are, nonetheless, a host of players who have played for top Argentine teams in the past with up to seven of the starters being clear members of the World Cup squad. 

Selected to start in the front-row are Lucas Noguera Paz, Santiago Iglesias Valdez and Santiago García Botta. Of them Noguera Paz was number two to Marcos Ayerza last November while García Botta was playing for Stade Français. Completing the starting tight-five will be Guido Petti and Gerónimo Albertario. Petti, like Noguera Paz, has signed a Super Rugby contract and started in last November's win in Paris. 

Back-rowers Facundo Isa, Tomás Lezana and Javier Ortega Desio are three more contracted to the UAR who were also involved in the win over France. All are playing for places in the World Cup with the trio arguably up against each other for, at most, two places. 

Captaining the team from scrum-half with be Martín Landajo who is to be joined by the young Juan León Novillo who debuted from the bench v Uruguay last weekend. Joaquín Paz and Jerónimo De la Fuente are to form a new-look mid-field combination which will come under scrutiny following the recent injury to Gonzalo Tiesi which has ruled the Newcastle Falcons centre out of the World Cup. 

The starting back-three will see players to have been on the fringes over the past years all given opportunities. Of them, left winger Santiago Cordero is arguably very much in the frame for inclusion in the World Cup squad while both Tomás Carrió and Román Miralles are distant possibilities. 

The match will take place at the home of Paraguayan rugby, the Héroes de Curupayti stadium in Asunción. Kick-off is scheduled for 8pm. Argentina will follow it up by facing Fiji on Wednesday in a rare neutral match with the game being played in Uruguay.

Lucas Noguera Paz
Santiago Iglesias Valdez
Santiago García Botta
Guido Petti
Gerónimo Albertario
Tomás Lezana
Javier Ortega Desio
Facundo Isa
Martín Landajo
Juan León Novillo
Santiago Cordero
Joaquín Paz
Jerónimo De La Fuente
Tomás Carrió
Román Miralles
Matías Cortese
Júlián Montoya
Bruno Postiglioni
Manuel Plaza
Lisandro Ahualli de Chazal
Gonzálo Bertranou
Santiago González Iglesias
Gabriel Ascárate

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