Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Make Shift Pumas To Face England

While all eyes will be on this Saturday’s friendly against Spain in Madrid, another important friendly will take place in London as the Los Pumas will take on RWC runners up England at rugby’s spiritual ground, Twickenham. This will be the first meeting between these two at the same venue since 2006, in which the Pumas made history by defeating England (25-18) for the first time.

The build up to this test match hasn’t been kind to the Pumas. They are missing star fly-half Juan Martin HERNANDEZ, centre Felipe CONTEPOMI, number eight Juan LEGUIZAMON and wings Gonzalo CAMACHO and Lucas AMOROSINO through injury.

Ex-Sale captain Juan Martin Fernandez LOBBE will lead an Argentina side with a fledgling half-back duo and three new caps. Among which is Santiago FERNANDEZ will start his first Test at fly-half, after a centre outing against England in June, with Alfredo LALANNE of London Irish at scrum-half.

Martin RODRIGUEZ, Mauro COMUZZI and Tomas LEONARDI all make Test debuts. That trio are among six players in the 22 who play in Argentina's amateur domestic rugby.

Here is the complete line up and replacement for this upcoming Test.

Starting 15: Horacio AGULLA (Brive); Lucas BORGES (Albi), Gonzalo TIESI (Harlequins), Martin RODRIGUEZ (Atletico del Rosario), Mauro COMUZZI (Pucara); Santiago FERNANDEZ (Hindu), Alfredo LALANNE (London Irish); Rodrigo RONCERO (Stade Francais), Mario LEDESMA (Clermont Auvergne), Martin SCELZO (Clermont), Esteban LOZADA (Toulon), Patricio ALBACETE (Toulouse), Tomas LEONARDI (SIC), Alejandro ABADIE (Rovigo), Juan Martin Fernandez-LOBBE (Toulon - captain).

Replacements: Alberto Vernet BASUALDO (Toulouse), Marcos AYERZA (Leicester), Manuel CARIZZA (Biarritz), Alejandro CAMPOS (Montauban), Agustin FIGUEROLA (CASI), Benjamin URDAPILLETA (CUBA), Federico Martin ARAMBURU (Dax).

TIESI will start at outside centre, with another England-based player, AYERZA on the bench. His presence among the replacements is testimony to the Pumas' front-row strength, where the rugged France-based trio of RONCERO, LEDESMA and SCELZO will provide a stiff test for England's inexperienced triumvirate. There is further experience and class in the shape of dynamic Toulouse lock ALBACETE and captain LOBBE.

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