TOKYO (Reuters) – Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has named his strongest possible team for Saturday’s World Cup Pool C opener against France, when the Pumas will be looking to snap a nine-match losing streak.
Nicolas Sanchez will renew the acquaintance with many of his French Top League rivals, having been given the nod at flyhalf for the twice World Cup semi-finalists ahead of Benjamin Urdapilleta, who will start on the bench.
Former captain Agustin Creevy, who often rotates the start with Julian Montoya, was named at hooker in a pack led by current skipper Pablo Matera that will need a big game to give their outside backs the chance to shine.
Ledesma has gone for the experienced Matias Moroni on the right wing with talented young flyer Santiago Carreras covering the back three from the bench.
With in-form England also in Pool C, Saturday’s match at Tokyo Stadium could go a long way to deciding which of the group’s two teams go through to the quarter-finals.
Team: 15-Emiliano Boffelli, 14-Matias Moroni, 13-Matias Orlando, 12-Jeronimo De la Fuente, 11-Ramiro Moyano, 10-Nicolas Sanchez, 9-Tomas Cubelli, 8-Javier Ortega Desio, 7-Marcos Kremer, 6-Pablo Matera (captain), 5-Tomas Lavanini, 4-Guido Petti, 3-Juan Figallo, 2-Agustin Creevy, 1-Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Replacements: 16-Julian Montoya, 17-Mayco Vivas, 18-Santiago Medrano, 19-Matias Alemanno, 20-Tomas Lezana, 21-Felipe Ezcurra, 22-Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23-Santiago Carreras.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Darren Schuettler / Ian Ransom)