South African Rugby

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Argentina picks a strong team for South Africa

Argentina coach Marcelo Loffreda picked his strongest available team for the first time this year on Wednesday for the test match against South Africa at the Velez Sarsfield stadium on Saturday.

Several first choice Pumas are missing through injury including wings Jose Nunez Piossek and Hernan Senillosa and forwards Patricio Albacete and Augusto Petrilli for the match, the first of three for Argentina in November.

The Pumas also play Scotland in Edinburgh on December 12 and Italy in Genoa a week later.

Loffreda, however, is spared the problems he had earlier in the season when he fielded a virtual second-string side against the British and Irish Lions in Cardiff in May because clubs would not release his players.

"The situation now is much less problematic," Loffreda said.

The Pumas were also well below strength, including five debutants, when they lost 39-7 the last time they met South Africa in Buenos Aires 11 months ago.

They will be hoping to go one better than in 2003 when they lost 26-25 to the Springboks in Port Elizabeth.

On Saturday, two-thirds of Argentina┬┤s first-choice back row, who were all missing against the Lions, will be playing: number eight Gonzalo Longo and flanker Martin Durand.

Juan Manuel Leguizamon, a raw newcomer who impressed in Cardiff, will stand in again for the absent Lucas Ostiglia.

Team: 15-Juan Martin Hernandez; 14-Lucas Borges, 13-Federico Martin Aramburu, 12-Manuel Contepomi, 11-Francisco Leonelli; 10- Felipe Contepomi, 9-Agustin Pichot (captain); 8-Gonzalo Longo, 7-Martin Durand, 6-Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 5-Pablo Bouza, 4-Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 3-Omar Hasan, 2-Mario Ledesma, 1-Rodrigo Roncero.

Replacements: 16-Eusebio Guinazu, 17-Martin Scelzo, 18-Manuel Carizza, 19-Martin Schusterman, 20-Nicolas Fernandez Miranda, 21-Federico Todeschini, 22-Bernardo Stortoni.

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