Pat leads Tahs against Pumas

Fri, 09 Aug 2013 07:46
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Pat McCutcheon will captain the NSW Barbarians when they take on the Pumas in the final leg of their two-match Argentina tour.

Pat McCutcheon will finally captain a New South Wales team when the NSW Barbarians take on the Pumas in the final leg of their two-match Argentina tour.

Having been named as captain in the Waratahs' penultimate Super Rugby match against the Force in Perth in June, McCutcheon was forced to withdraw through injury.

With Dave Dennis among six players to have returned to Sydney for the Wallabies training camp, McCutcheon will wear the captain's armband for the first time this weekend - when he leads out a new-look side against an international team that boasts a combined total of 437 caps in the starting XV, in the second and final match of the two-week tour.

"It's a huge honour to be named captain for this international clash," said McCutcheon, a former Australian Sevens captain.

"It was disappointing that I couldn't  make the field last time I was named captain, although it was a fitting end for Tom Carter," McCutcheon added of the retiring stalwart.

"This match is a massive opportunity for the new boys to show their class and impress Cheik [coach Michael Cheika].

"After last week's game, the Pumas will be a better team this time.  That was their first time together this year and they will only improve leading into the Rugby Championship."

Making their state debuts in the pack in Salta will be 19-year-old Australian Under-20 and Gordon flank Jack Dempsey and NSW's 2014 recruit Tala Gray, who starts at No.8.

Retaining their partnership in the second row are Will Skelton and Mitchell Chapman, who will pack down behind a reshuffled front row of Jeremy Tilse, Luke Holmes and Sam Talakai, the latter becoming NSW player No.1607 - when he made his official NSW debut against the Force back in June.

There are four newcomers in the backline, with Ben Volavola taking over from Bernard Foley at flyhalf alongside incoming scrumhalf Matt Lucas.

Club rugby's third-highest try-scorer this year, West Harbour winger Alofa Alofa, makes his first NSW appearance on the left wing, with Randwick's Terrence Hepetema earning his first start at No.12, after making his Super Rugby debut from the bench in June.

The experienced Rob Horne reverts to outside centre, with Cam Crawford and Drew Mitchell retaining their places in the back three.

Accommodated on an extended bench are Penrith hooker Kerren Straker and Newcastle Waratahs scrumhalf Auvasa Falealii, both of whom will wear the sky blue for the first time if they take to the field in Salta.  

Also named is former Australia A, NSW, Bath and Montpellier back Matt Carraro, who joined the squad for the final week of tour.

The Pumas starting team contains six changes to the side that narrowly won the first match, 29-27.

Led once again by the formidable Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, the side boasts a combined total of 437 caps, with 81 of those coming from the inclusion of veteran centre Felipe Contepomi, who takes over at No.12.

Double try scorer Agustín Creevy starts at hooker in place of Bath Rugby's Eusebio Guiñazú and Juan Manuel Leguizamón is preferred at openside flank.


NSW Barbarians: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Terrence Hepetema, 11 Alofa Alofa, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Tala Gray, 7 Pat McCutcheon (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Mitchell Chapman, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Luke Holmes, 1 Jeremy Tilse.
Replacements - from: Kerren Straker, Tolu Latu, Keliti Vangalo, Jed Holloway, Brendan McKibbin, Auvasa Falealii, David Horwitz, Michael McDougall, Usaia O'Sullivan, Alex Gibbon, Matt Carraro, David Lolohea.

Argentina: 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Joaquín Tuculet, 12 Felipe Contepomi, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (captain), 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements - from: Eusebio Guiñazú, Nahuel Lobo, Matías Díaz, Julio Farías Cabello, Pablo Matera, Tomás Cubelli, Nicolás Sánchez, Santiago Fernández, Marcelo Bosch, Horacio Agulla.

Date: Friday, August 9
Venue: Estadio Padre Martearena, Salta
Kick-off: 20.10 (23.10 GMT; 09.10 AEST on Saturday, August 10)
Referee: Juan Hernán Sylvestre
Assistant referees: Federico Anselmi, Santiago Altobelli