'Improved' Pumas unchanged for ABs
Argentina coach Santiago Phelan showed faith in his team, despite still searching for their first win, naming an unchanged starting XV.
Argentina coach Santiago Phelan showed faith in his team, despite still searching for their first win, naming an unchanged starting XV for their Rugby Championship encounter with New Zealand in La Plata on Saturday.
Phelan said he picked the same side that lost to Australia on the Gold Coast almost a fortnight ago, as the goal is to improve match by match.
"In defence the players are full of confidence, we're getting better and as a consequence the results will follow,” Phelan told reporters after naming his team at their base 45km north of the capital Buenos Aires.
“To play this tournament implies effort rather than pressure. I single out the valour, commitment, heart and passion of the team,” he added.
“Saturday's goal will be to avoid the drain of the final minutes,” said Phelan, whose team were 13 points ahead of the Wallabies before conceding two tries in the final quarter as they lost 23-19 to Australia in the Gold Coast on September 15.
Phelan made two changes to his bench, bringing in prop Marcos Ayerza for Juan Pablo Orlandi and back row forward Tomas Vallejos for Leonardo Senatore.
The Pumas, hosting the match in the provincial capital La Plata south-east of Buenos Aires, are looking to beat the world champion All Blacks for the first time and prevent them clinching the trophy with a match to spare.
New Zealand, who have won their four games so far, need one more victory to be sure of the title before their final match against South Africa in Soweto next week.
Argentina have lost their three away matches in their first season in the new four-nation Southern Hemisphere championship, their first major annual competition, and secured a 16-16 draw at home to South Africa last month.
Argentina: 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (captain), 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Julio Farías Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Tomás Vallejos, 19 Tomás Leonardi, 20 Nicolás Vergallo, 21 Martín Rodríguez, 22 Juan Imhoff.
Date: Saturday, September 29
Venue: Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata
Kick-off: 20.10 (23.10 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Pascal Gauzere (France)
TMO: Francisco Pastrana