SYDNEY (Reuters) – Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has made five changes from the side that ran the All Blacks close in their Rugby Championship opener for Saturday’s test against Australia in Brisbane.
Stalwart hooker Agustin Creevy did not make the trip to Australia because of a shoulder injury and will be replaced in the front row by Julian Montoya with uncapped rake Santiago Socini set to make his debut from the bench.
At number eight, Facundo Isa will get his first taste of test rugby since he moved back to France in 2016 after replacing Javier Ortega Desio at the back of the scrum.
Ledesma is using the Rugby Championship to try and work some of Argentina’s Europe-based talent back into the squad heavily reliant on the Jaguares team.
The other changes continued the policy of rotation that the Jaguares employed so successfully on their run to this year’s Super Rugby final.
Tomas Lezana replaced Marcos Kremer at openside flanker, Santiago Cordero will start on the wing in place of Matias Moroni who moves into the centres, and Joaquin Tuculet gets a run at fullback with Emiliano Boffelli left out of the squad.
Experienced loose forward Juan Manuel Leguizamon was included on a forward-heavy bench along with Socini, who came through in English rugby but will join the Jaguares for next season.
There is more experience at halfback where flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli resume the combination that helped Argentina give the All Blacks a scare in a 20-16 loss to the world champions in Buenos Aires last week.
Argentina got their first Rugby Championship win over the Wallabies on Australian soil on the Gold Coast last year.
Team: 15-Joaquin Tuculet, 14-Santiago Cordero, 13-Matias Moroni, 12-Jeronimo De la Fuente, 11-Ramiro Moyano, 10-Nicolas Sanchez, 9-Tomas Cubelli, 8-Facundo Isa, 7-Tomas Lezana, 6-Pablo Matera (captain), 5-Tomas Lavanini, 4-Guido Petti, 3-Juan Figallo, 2-Julian Montoya, 1-Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Replacements: 16-Santiago Socini, 17-Mayco Vivas, 18-Ramiro Herrera, 19-Matias Alemanno, 20-Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21-Felipe Ezcurra, 22-Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 23-Matias Orlando
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Ian Ransom)