June 19, 2013
Pumas boosted by return of Hernández, Leguizamón
Argentine hopes for a first victory over world champions New Zealand were boosted today when flyhalf pivot Juan Martín Hernández and openside flanker Juan Manuel Leguizamón were named in the side after returning from injury.
The dynamic duo were the only changes to coach Santiago Phelan's starting line-up for their Rugby Championship clash in Wellington on Saturday, bolstering an experienced lineup that boasts over 400 caps.
Hernández has recovered from a torn leg muscle that kept him out of the home 16-16 draw with South Africa on Aug. 25 and takes over from Nicolás Sánchez.
The return of the classy flyhalf is a huge boost for the Pumas, who face an uphill challenge against the All Blacks who have lost only four times at home in 10 years.
The gifted Hernandez has been plagued by injury in recent times. He made his first start for Argentina in three years in their first Rugby Championship clash, a 27-6 defeat by the Springboks in Durban last month.
His tactical kicking and ability to bring runners into the game will be important against a measly All Black defence that kept Australia pointless in the second of their two wins over their trans-Tasman rivals 10 days ago.
The visitors always play a forward orientated game and will be delighted to have the powerful 29-year-old Leguizamon back in their ranks for the Wellington test.
The French-based flanker had been absent because of a stomach problem but is fit now and takes the place of Alvaro Galindo.
Leguizamon caused the All Blacks problems in their World Cup quarter-final last year but the home side prevailed 33-10 in Auckland.
Phelan has named 12 players from that World Cup clash and will pick his replacements on Thursday.
Argentina have drawn once and lost 17 times to New Zealand.
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 Fernández Lobbe (captain), 7-Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6-Julio Farías Cabello, 5-Patricio Albacete, 4-Manuel Carizza, 3-Juan Figallo, 2-Eusebio Guiñazú, 1-Rodrigo Roncero.