Pumas name Lobbe captain for opener
August 14, 2012
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe will hope to inspire his side to victory on Saturday © Getty Images
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe has been named as skipper for Argentina's historic first match in the Rugby Championship against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.
The newly expanded Tri-Nations sees the Pumas take their place at the southern hemisphere top table for the first time in a move that has been in the pipeline for a while, but is now finally realised.
Lobbe will skipper the side from No.8 with Racing Metro's Alvaro Galindo packing down alongside Tucuman's Julio Farias Cabello in the back-row. The second-row sees Toulouse's Patricio Albacete lining up alongside Biarritz's Manuel Carizza and the front-row is formed by Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu and veteran prop Rodrigo Roncero.
In tha backs, talismanic fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez starts - his first Test appearance in three years for the Pumas - with Nicolas Vergallo alongside him at half-back while Bath's Horacio Agulla starts alongside Exeter's Gonzalo Camacho on the flanks with Biarritz's Marcelo Bosch and Montpellier's Santiago Fernandez in the centres. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino gets the nod at fullback.
It will be Roncero's 50th Test and the prop looks likely to retire after the tournament and he admits it is a dream come true to be playing in the competition. He said: "It really is amazing to be part of the group of 26 players that are here in South Africa and it is a great honor to play in the Rugby Championship. We are aware that, in turn, we have a great responsibility but we must also enjoy the occasion.
"Two years ago this was impossible, but now we are here. We know it will be very hard but we feel great about being able to play in the tournament."
Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Santiago Fernandez, Horacio Agulla, Juan Martin Hernandez, Nicolas Vergallo, Rodrigo Roncero, Eusebio Guinazu, Juan Figallo, Manuel Carizza, Patricio Albacete, Julio Farias Cabello, Alvaro Galindo, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe
Replacements: Bruno Postiglioni, Marcos Ayerza, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Tomas Leonardi, Leonardo Senatore, Martin Landajo, Martin Rodriguez Gurruchage
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton
Cards, kicks, slips and scores: It's The Week in Pictures, the finest snaps from the last seven days of rugby