June 19, 2013
Argentina finalize team for New Zealand clash
WELLINGTON — Argentina coach Santiago Phelan finalized his team for their Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand tomorrow when he named his replacements bench yesterday.
The Pumas had named their starting side on Tuesday with flyhalf Juan Martín Hernández and openside flanker Juan Manuel Leguizamón returning to the side after injuries.
Both players missed Argentina’s 16-16 draw with South Africa in Mendoza two weeks ago and will bring an added dimension to a Pumas side packed with experience and burning to stamp their credentials on the competition.
“We are really excited to play the match against New Zealand,” centre Santiago Fernández said in a statement on the Argentine Rugby Union website (www.uar.com.ar). “They are the best in the world and we hope things go well.”
“We have to try to put them under a lot of pressure, because if you let them play, they are lethal. They are the best in the world and if you have not closed spaces (they will punish you),” he added. “We want to get a result, but we know we have to play a perfect game. We are positive.”
Team: 15-Martín Rodríguez, 14-Gonzalo Camacho, 13-Marcelo Bosch, 12-Santiago Fernández, 11-Horacio Agulla, 10-Juan Martín Hernández, 9-Nicolás Vergallo, 8-Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe (captain), 7-Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6-Julio Farías Cabello, 5-Patricio Albacete, 4-Manuel Carizza, 3-Juan Figallo, 2-Eusebio Guinazú, 1-Rodrigo Roncero. Replacements: 16-Agustín Creevy, 17-Marcos Ayerza, 18-Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19-Leonardo Senatore, 20-Thomas Leonardi, 21-Martín Landajo, 22-Lucas González Amorosino.
The presence of World Cup-winning All Blacks coach Graham Henry in the visiting coaches’ box during tomorrow’s test will be a small but unsettling factor for a home team expected to easily extend their unbeaten start to the Rugby Championship.
Only 10 months after leading New Zealand to Cup victory at Auckland’s Eden Park, Henry returns as a technical adviser to the Argentina team, resplendent in their light blue training strip and welcomed by Phelan into his inner circle.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, who spent eight years as Henry’s assistant before succeeding him after the World Cup, admitted to mixed feelings about seeing his old boss so publicly draped in an opponent’s colours ahead of a home test match.
“Laughter, disappointment, there were a whole range of emotions,” Hansen said. “I don’t think we should make this about Graham Henry, we should make this about the All Blacks and Argentina because it’s a special occasion, it’s the first time in the Rugby Championship that we’ve played them.”
New Zealand and Argentina have met 14 times since 1985 and the All Blacks have won 13 matches and drawn one.