Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Argentina retains pack to test Australia
(Reuters) - Argentina coach Santiago Phelan has kept faith with the forward pack that made life difficult for New Zealand last week and made just two changes to his backline for their Rugby Championship clash against Australia on Saturday.
Martin Landajo has replaced Nicolas Vergallo at scrumhalf, while Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino takes the place of Martin Rodriguez at fullback.
Both Vergallo and Rodriguez were dropped to the replacements bench for the clash at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast.
It was little surprise Phelan retained the forward pack who held the All Blacks in check for more than 65 minutes in Wellington last Saturday before the world champions snatched a 21-5 win courtesy of two late tries.
The Wallabies have struggled in the forward exchanges during the Rugby Championship, which the Pumas are likely to exploit with their traditional scrummaging power combined with a ruthless defence around the fringes and at the breakdown.
Their backline defence should also present a problem for the misfiring Wallabies' backs, who have failed to score a try in their three matches in the Rugby Championship and appear to be struggling for rhythm and creative inspiration.
The Pumas backs were praised by the All Blacks after the Wellington match, with their drift system quickly shutting down the space they appeared to leave wide, while they barely missed a one-on-one tackle.
Phelan resorted to a traditional 4-3 split on his bench for the game against the Wallabies after choosing five forwards and two backs last week.
Winger Juan Imhoff will cover the outside backs from the bench, while versatile prop Marcos Ayerza has dropped out of the 22-man squad altogether.
Argentina: 15-Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14-Gonzalo Camacho, 13-Marcelo Bosch, 12-Santiago Fernandez, 11-Horacio Agulla, 10-Juan Martin Hernandez, 9-Martin Landajo, 8-Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), 7-Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6-Julio Farias Cabello, 5-Patricio Albacete, 4-Manuel Carizza, 3-Juan Figallo, 2-Eusebio Guinazu, 1-Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16-Agustin Creevy, 17-Juan Pablo Orlandi, 18-Leonardo Senatore, 19-Thomas Leonardi, 20-Nicolas Vergallo, 21-Martin Rodriguez, 22-Juan Imhoff
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)