Pumas fall back on Contepomi

Wed, 02 Oct 2013 06:46
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These two players' experience will be important

The recall of veteran midfielder Felipe Contepomi is one of two changes to the Argentina team ahead of their final Rugby Championship match of the year.

The Pumas, still seeking their first win after two years in the competition, will face Australia at the Gigante de Arroyito, in Rosario, on Saturday.

The 36-year-old Contepomi will play his 87th Test when he returns at inside centre, while Horacio Agulla takes over from Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino on the wing.

The forwards, who crunched the All Blacks' scrum in La Plata last week, are unchanged.

Argentina have beaten Australia five times in their 21 encounters and also came close in Perth last month - going down 13-14 in a nailbiter.

A win for the Pumas could hand the Wallabies the dubious honour of Rugby Championship wooden spooners.

Puma coach Santiago Phelan said the changes are to ensure "the best 15" start against the Wallabies.

"Both Felipe [Contepomi] and Horace [Agulla] are great players and they bring plenty of experience to the team," Phelan said.

"The group is in good shape and these two players' experience will be important."
The coach said there is a need for his team to "remain calm" and have confidence in what they have been doing on the training field if they are to secure their first win in the competition.

"There were great things against New Zealand, especially in the first half, and we extend it for a longer time on the pitch," Phelan said of last week's 15-33 loss.

"The Argentine team has grown a lot from last year to this and this tournament we went from lowest [a 13-73 loss to South Africa in Soweto] to the highest [the one point loss in Perth] and we have been growing.

"There is much more to go and playing against these teams, there are requirements to keep improving.

"Hopefully the results can come".

Phelan called the Wallabies a "complete" team with solid forwards and a "fast and agile" back line.

"They [Australia] are the third best team in the world and our defence will have to be spot on when they have the ball."

Argentina: 15 Juan Martín Hernández, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Felipe Contepomi, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (captain), 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Julio Farías Cabello, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Benjamín Macome, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago Fernández, 23 Lucas González Amorosino.

Date: Saturday, October 5
Venue : Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario
Kick-off: 19.40 (22.40 GMT; 09.40 Sunday, October 6, EDT Australia)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Leighton Hodges (Wales)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)