The Pumas managed to lose 26-12 to South Africa in what was a trial for some of the players. In this squad there are twelve players under the age of 23 for the Pumas, who if they struggle at this World Cup, could be a bigger threat come 2019.
Average age / caps in 2007 ARG RWC squad for tight five – 30 yrs / 27 caps ;2011 – 29 years old / 26 caps and in 2015 – 25 years old / 19 caps.
Argentina Rugby World Cup squad
Forwards: Matthias Alemanno, Marcos Ayerza, Agustin Creevy, Matias Diaz, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Mariano Galarza, Ramiro Herrera, Facundo Isa, Thomas Lavanini, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Paul Matera, Julian Montoya, Lucas Noguera, Javier Ortega Desio, Guido Petti Pagadizabal, Leonardo Senatore, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Backs: Horacio Agulla, Marcelo Bosch, Cordero Santiago, Thomas Cubelli, Jerónimo de la Fuente, Lucas González Amorosino, Santiago González Iglesias, Juan Martin Hernandez, Juan Imhoff, Martin Landajo, Matías Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez, Juan Pablo Socino, Joaquín Tuculet.
In a World Cup year every tournament is important but no more so than tournaments that involve the players that will attempt to bring the Webb Ellis Trophy back to their fans.
The start of the Castle Rugby Championship will start the preparations for the three power houses in the Southern Hemisphere as they attempt to get their mix right to challenge for the World Cup in England.
The Rugby Championship has been dominated by New Zealand for most of its existence. That they will go in the tournament as favourites are the understatement of the decade with the dominance they showed in this year’s Super Rugby.
Australia and South Africa will have some advantage this year with the fact that they do not have to play in New Zealand this year due to the sort schedule of the tournament in a World Cup year.
New Zealand will only play Argentina in the first weekend in New Zealand and will have to travel first to the Republic to play the Springboks at Emirates Airline Park and then travel to Australia to play them at ANZ Stadium.
Australia are in the same boat as the Springboks playing both New Zealand and South Africa in Australia and only have to travel to Argentina to face the Pumas.
The Pumas will have to play New Zealand and South Africa away and only have Australia visiting their shores.
That it will be the toughest for the All Blacks and the Pumas is no joke but as we have seen in years gone by that New Zealand are one team that can win away from home.
Let’s have a look at the teams…..
The Webb Ellis Trophy remains the biggest prize in the game and the build-up to the global showpiece is set to overshadow the southern hemisphere’s annual competition as all four coaches use the competition as preparation for the showdown in England later this year.
Australia were crowned Tri-Nations champions in 2011 as Quade Cooper and Will Genia took their hot form for then Super Rugby champions the Reds to the international scene, but the Wallabies fell short in the semi-finals of the World Cup a few months later.
Likewise, New Zealand took the southern hemisphere title in 2007 before being knocked out in the quarter-finals of the World Cup
As usual, Argentina’s squad will be the freshest as their mostly northern hemisphere-based group will have benefited from nearly two months of conditioning work as opposed to their rivals, who are still healing up from a gruelling Super Rugby season.
Los Pumas used their second-string team in a series with the French Barbarians – which ended 1-all – before they kicked off an extended training camp.
They’ve been in Sydney since the end of June in preparation for the opening game against the All Blacks.
For South Africa the rematch of last year’s epic battle with the All Blacks at Ellis Park will be probably the biggest landmark in the World Cup build-up as the top two ranked teams face off. They are seeded to meet in the semi-finals and if the Boks can repeat their victory of 2014 in Johannesburg, they’ll head to England truly believing they can go all the way.
While Fourie du Preez’s injury-enforced absence must be considered a serious setback, the emergence of Damian de Allende as an attacking force bodes well for the Boks’ ambition of having more bows in their quiver than their countrymen in 2007.
As ever, New Zealand start as favourites, despite having to travel to Sydney and Jo’burg. The reigning champs have the most balanced, settled squad and have quality back-ups in every position, with the exception of the hooker berth, where Hika Elliot and Cody Taylor have yet to prove themselves on the international stage.
Steve Hansen must strike a balance between fielding proven performers and developing his squad and the future of the team. He must also make tough choices in terms of risking Richie McCaw and Dan Carter or providing them with the game time they probably need.
The only real concern, for lack of a better word, is the form of Kieran Read, who has been way off his best this year.
The historic test against Samoa would have provided more clarity in who isn’t up to scratch. Andy Ellis probably makes that list.
A handful of All Black veterans are playing for their places in the World Cup squad. The likes of Israel Dagg, Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock have had a poor season so far and cannot count on their experience to earn automatic seats on the plane to England.
One thing is for sure….this will be one hell of an exciting Castle Rugby Championship this year!!
Argentina’s team to face New Zealand in Christchurch on Friday features three players making their Rugby Championship debuts.
Coach Daniel Hourcade has named number eight Facundo Isa, lock Guido Petti and wing Santiago Cordero in his starting XV for the competition opener.
21-year-old Isa and 20-year-old Petti both made their Test debuts during last November’s tour of Europe. 21-year-old Cordero has earned nine Tests caps since his debut against England in 2013 but has never faced one of the southern hemisphere giants.
Petti will start in the second row alongside the experienced Stormers lock Manuel Carizza – who has been re-called for his first match for the Pumas since June 2014 – while Nicolas Sanchez will direct traffic from fly-half.
Jeronimo De la Fuente will start at inside centre with versatile back Juan Martin Hernandez among a group of players rested in preparation for this year’s World Cup.
“It’s a team built around our previous thoughts,” Hourcade told reporters.
“In other words, taking into consideration players who need a rest or are still not 100 percent because of their participation in the European season.
“That gives us a chance to give some younger players a run-out before the World Cup. They’ve earned their place on the pitch.”
Argentina have never won away from home after three campaigns and are chasing their first victory over the All Blacks in 20 attempts.
Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Jeronimo De la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 5 Guido Petti, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza. Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Nahuel Chaparro Tetaz, 19 Benjamin Macome, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino
Date: Friday, 17th July Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT, 17:35 AEST, 04:35 ART, 09:35 SAST) Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa) Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Stuart Berry (South Africa) TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
The defending Rugby Championship champions will get their campaign off and running against Argentina with a very strong side. Winger Waisake Naholo will make his debut and so will Codie Taylor off the bench. It will probably be a win for the Pumas who have just the one win in the tournament. However considering it is a Rugby World Cup year a lot more is at stake for the players in particular. It will be an opportunity for some of the veterans to get some form considering their under performance in the Super Rugby.
1. Tony Woodcock 2. Keven Mealamu 3. Owen Franks 4. Luke Romano 5. Brodie Retallick 6. Jerome Kaino 7. Richie McCaw (C) 8. Kieran Read
9. TJ Perenara 10. Daniel Carter 11. Charles Piutau 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Ma’a Nonu 14. Waisake Naholo 15. Israel Dagg
Reserves- 16. Codie Taylor 17. Wyatt Crockett 18. Nepo Laulala 19. Jeremy Thrush 20. Liam Messam 21. Andy Ellis 22. Colin Slade
23. Ryan Crotty
This squad features 1068 caps of experience and an average age of 28 years.
Will Genia has been dropped from the Wallabies starting side. Photo: Getty Images
Mowen becomes the Wallabies sixth captain in two years and will take over the reins in just his seventh Test, making him one of the most inexperienced skippers in Australian history.
Halfback Genia has been axed to the bench with rookie Nic White to take over the No.9 duties.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie revealed the decision to bench Genia was not taken lightly, “The fact that Will has captained his country shows what high regard we hold him in, and while he is naturally disappointed, I also know how competitive he is and I’ve got no doubts he will train himself to a standstill to bounce back as a better player,” McKenzie said.
“We’ve spoken about what areas we believe he can continue to improve and evolve his game and he was receptive to going back and addressing those things.
“In the end, it wasn’t an easy decision because he is undoubtedly a world-class player.”
Ben Mowen will captain the Wallabies against Argentina on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images
In other changes, prop Ben Alexander returns to the starting XV at tighthead while Quade Cooper retains his place at five-eighth.
White has only played 16 minutes of Test rugby and made his Wallabies debut last month.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has made changes as the team searches for a win to snap its four-game losing streak.
The Wallabies are already without regular captain James Horwill (hamstring) while leader David Pocock is still recovering from a knee reconstruction.
McKenzie hasn’t won a match as Test coach after taking over from Robbie Deans in July.
A defeat at the hands of Argentina would be a massive blow to Australian rugby.
McKenzie remains confident of avoiding any banan skins against the Pumas, “Rugby is a game of chess and we will look forward to the challenge of getting the right balance and our first Rugby Championship win,” the coach said.
Mowen only made his Test debut in June against the British and Irish Lions. In his six Tests, he has won just one match.
The ACT Brumbies captain has been outstanding at the Canberra franchise.
He moved to the capital at the start of the 2012 season for a fresh start after years at the NSW Waratahs trying to break into the Test squad.
Mowen feared his international window had closed.
But switching to the Brumbies has reinvigorated his career and he is widely regarded as one of the best leaders in Australian rugby.
At the start of the year Mowen turned down lucrative offers from Japan to stay in Australia and chase his Wallabies dreams.
It has paid off.
He helped guide the Brumbies into the Super Rugby final, made his international debut against the Lions and has established himself as a crucial cog in the Wallabies forward pack.
White will fill the hole left by Genia.
His kicking game will be a massive boost for the Wallabies but Genia’s absence leaves a gaping hole in Australia’s experience.
White sat on the bench behind Genia last year, but was never given a chance on the field.
When White made the tough choice to have shoulder surgery instead of playing in the Rugby Championship last year, Genia suffered a season-ending knee injury and Nick Phipps was given a chance in the Wallabies No.9 jersey.
But White continued his impressive rise from club rugby this season and has earned the right to test himself against the Pumas.
Wallabies team to play Argentina on Saturday in Perth: 1. James Slipper, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Ben Alexander, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Kane Douglas, 6. Scott Fardy, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Ben Mowen (c), 9. Nic White, 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Nick Cummins, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. James O’Connor, 15. Israel Folau. Reserves: 16. Saia Faingaa, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Sekope Kepu, 19. Sitaleki Timani, 20. Ben McCalman, 21. Will Genia, 22. Matt Toomua, 23. Tevita Kuridrani
The Springboks will end off a busy international season with a tour to Scotland, Wales and France in Europe in November this year, while the venues for the first two Springbok Tests of 2013 have been reversed to avoid an event clash.
SA U20 flyhalf Johan Goosen kicked five penalties and a conversion to steer his team to a 22-13 victory over Argentina U20 in the second international match played at the Lions Rugby Club in Santiago del Estero on Thursday night.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has confirmed that teams representing Argentina and Namibia will compete in the 2010 Vodacom Cup competition while there are also talks around the possibility of the Southern Kings appearing in the Celtic League competition.