Argentina changes 5 for Springboks rematch
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina coach Santiago Phelan made five changes to his starting 15 for the Rugby Championship rematch against South Africa in Mendoza on Saturday in response to the record defeat by the Springboks last weekend.
The Pumas have just a week to bounce back from a 73-13 loss in Soweto, starting their second season in the southern hemisphere championship with the biggest defeat in the 17-year-old competition.
Phelan on Thursday brought in prop Marcos Ayerza, a new lock pairing in Julio Farias Cabello and Mariano Galarza, left wing Horacio Agulla and fullback Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
Ayerza recovered from injury and returned at loosehead prop, with Juan Figallo switching to tighthead and Mattias Diaz dropping to the bench. Cabello and Galarza were picked in the second row after experienced lock Patricio Albacete was hurt early in the first game at FNB Stadium. Manuel Carriza, the other lock who started on Saturday, was out of the 23 altogether.
Bath wing Agulla was promoted after starting the tournament on the bench, while Amorosino replaced Juan Martin Hernandez at fullback. Hernandez also went off injured in the first half in Soweto.
Center Felipe Contepomi retained the captaincy after scoring all of Argentina’s points at FNB Stadium. Argentina’s regular skipper, No. 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, was still missing with a left calf injury.
The Pumas will be boosted by home advantage this weekend — they held South Africa to a 16-16 draw in Mendoza last year and probably should have won that game for a first victory ever over the Springboks.
Argentina conceded nine tries without scoring a point in a 50-minute spell in Soweto last Saturday for its heaviest defeat by the South Africans in 10 years of playing each other.
“We seek to reverse the situation of the last game,” Agulla said. “We’ve had a good week and we’re all eager to reverse this and to show what we are.”
Argentina traveled to Mendoza on Thursday, while the Springboks will head west from Buenos Aires to the foothills of the Andes on Friday.
Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Felipe Contepomi (captain), Horacio Agulla, Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Leonardo Senatore, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Pablo Matera, Mariano Galarza, Julio Farias Cabello, Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Marcos Ayerza. Reserves: Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Lobo, Matias Diaz, Tomas Lavanini, Benjamin Macome, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Fernandez, Juan Imhoff.
Willie le Roux, Bjorn Basson, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Juandre Kruger, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Siya Kolisi, Jano Vermaak, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein.