Pumas draft in Figuerola and Sambucetti
November 18, 2009
Argentina coach Santiago Phelan has made two changes to his side to face Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
Scrum-half Agustin Figuerola and lock Mariano Sambucetti are the players to benefit, with London Irish No.9 Alfredo Lalanne and Toulon lock Esteban Lozada missing out.
The Pumas scrapped to a narrow defeat against England at Twickenham last weekend and have called on the same fearsome front-row for their date with Warren Gatland's men.
Gatland has talked down the influence of the Pumas' scrummaging, but the trio of Rodrigo Rondero, Mario Ledesma and Martin Scelzo is set to cause a number of problems.
The superb Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe retains the captaincy and starts at No.8 while Santiago Fernandez will continue his development as a fly-half in one of world rugby's most unforgiving atmospheres.
"Before coming on tour, we decided to play some players who perhaps did not have too much experience of international rugby," said Phelan. "We are not changing players because of performance. It is about what we think is best for this game against Wales.
"We think Wales will be very tough opponents - they are an excellent team that plays a very dynamic game. We saw them play New Zealand and Samoa recently, and also in the Six Nations this year. They are a good team that has played together a lot."
Argentina: H Agulla (Brive); L Borges (Albi), G Tiesi (Harlequins), M Rodriguez (Rosario), M Comuzzi (Pucara); S Fernandez (Hindu), A Figuerola (CASI); R Roncero (Stade Francais), M Ledesma (Clermont Auvergne), M Scelzo (Clermont Auvergne), M Sambucetti (Bristol), P Albacete (Toulouse), T Leonardi (San Isidro), A Abadie (Rovigo), JM Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon, capt)
Replacements: AV Basualdo (Toulouse), M Ayerza (Leicester), M Carizza (Biarritz), A Campos (Montauban), A Lalanne (London Irish), B Urdapilleta (C.U.B.A), H San Martin (Tala)
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September