Pool B preview: Argentina v Georgia
Fri, 30 Sep 2011 00:00
Argentina will hold most of the aces going into Sunday's Pool B finale against Georgia with World Cup last-eight qualification rivals England and Scotland having fought it out the previous day.
An England win by more than seven points and no bonus point for Scotland would mean that the Pumas are through to the quarterfinals thanks to their last-gasp 13-12 win over the Scots in Wellington last Sunday.
Their reward for that would be a game against the All Blacks in Eden Park on October 9.
But if Scotland win, or take a bonus point, or the match is drawn, then Felipe Contepomi and his men will still have some work to do against the improving Georgians, who defeated Romania 25-9 in their last match.
The south Americans have a long injury list and have lost influential loose forward Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe for the rest of the tournament after he picked up a serious knee injury against Scotland.
Coach Santiago Phelan has made five changes to his starting line-up for the match which will be the second to be held in Palmerston North.
Leonardo Senatore takes over in the back row, while Marcos Ayera comes in at loosehead prop from the injured veteran Rodrigo Roncero.
The other change in the forwards is second row Mariano Galarza replacing Manuel Carizza.
Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, who scored the 73rd minute try which won the match for Argentina against Scotland, is rewarded with a starting place at fullback.
Juan Jose Imhoff comes in on the left wing with Horacio Agulla switching to the right wing to accommodate him. Gonzalo Camacho and Martin Rodriguez are the players to lose their places.
Contepomi, who needs to score 18 points to break the Argentine record of 590 international points set by the legendary Hugo Porta, said that the long injury list would not pose a problem for his side.
"We came here with 30 players knowing that we had to be prepared for such problems. I think we have shown already that the team can come up with solutions. We are confident that anyone can be replaced," he said.
Georgia, buoyed by pulling off just their second World Cup win, have made six changes as they aim to leave the tournament on a high.
Lasha Khmaladze moves from fullback to flyhalf with Malkhaz Urjukashvili coming in at 15 alongside Lekso Gugava on the right wing.
Mamuka 'Godzilla' Gorgodze shifts to number eight to make way for Viktor Kolelishvili at flank while Levan Datunashvili, Akvsenti Giorgadze and Vasil Kakovin joined a revamped front five.
Skipper and scrumhalf Irakli Abuseridze said that players from both teams knew each other well as they played together in the French championships, and that victory for the east Europeans was not out of the question.
"We've improved a lot through the years. In 2003 when we played England, they beat us with 80 points' difference, so things are different now," he said.
"In 2007 we had a good tournament with our first victory and here we have already won a game and still have one to play. We will try to win, maybe we can create a surprise again."
Players to Watch:
For Argentina: In the absence of Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, you will wonder if Leonardo Senatore can make the same impact. However, the most exciting selection in the team is Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino at fullback, who will look to continue his try-scoring feats after the match-winning effort against Scotland.
For Georgia: You will always look to see what impact Mamuka Gorgodze makes on the game, as he is the biggest name in this East European outfit. Captain and scrumhalf Irakli Abuseridze will also have an important role to play if his team is to be competitive.
Head to Head: The Romanians like to scrum and it will be interesting to see how the seasoned Argentinean front row of Juan Figallo, Mario Ledesma Arocena and Marcos Ayerza shapes up against the Georgian trio of David Zirakashvili, Akvsenti Giorgadze and Vasil Kakovin.
2007: Argentina won 33-3, Lyon (World Cup pool match)
Prediction: Even with some crippling injuries, Argentina still look far too strong for a brave Georgia. Argentina to win by 15 points or more.
Argentina: 15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11 Juan Jose Imhoff, 10 Santiago Fernández, 9 Nicolás Vergallo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Mario Ledesma Arocena, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Martín Scelzo, 18 Tomas Vallejos, 19 Alejandro Campos, 20 Alfredo Lalanne, 21 Agustín Gosio, 22 Martín Rodríguez.
Georgia: 15 Malkhaz Urjukashvili, 14 Lekso Gugava, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Tedo Zibzibadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Irakli Abuseridze (captain), 8 Mamuka Gorgodze, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 5 Vakhtang Maisuradze, 4 Levan Datunashvili, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Akvsenti Giorgadze, 1 Vasil Kakovin.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Goderdzi Shvelidze, 18 Giorgi Nemsadze, 19 Ilia Zedginidze, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Merab Kvirikashvili, 22 Lasha Malaguradze.
Date: Sunday, October 2
Venue: Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North
Kick-off: 13.00 (00.00 GMT)
Expected weather: Plenty of cloud cover with a high of 17°C and a low of 11°C
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Dave Pearson (England), Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
TMO: Giulio De Santis (Italy)
AFP & rugby365.com
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