Los Pumas bring in star flyhalf to front All Blacks
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Argentina’s star playmaker Nicolas Sanchez has been promoted to the starting XV to take on the All Blacks on the Gold Coast this weekend.
Sanchez started from the bench in Argentina’s 10-29 defeat at the hands of the Springboks in Gqeberha last month, but has been reinstated at No.10 in place of Domingo Miotti as Los Pumas prepare for their third Rugby Championship clash.
The selection of the 32-year-old, who will become Argentina’s most-capped player when he runs out for his 90th test at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday, is one of seven changes made to the Los Pumas starting side by head coach Mario Ledesma.
Four of those, including the swap of Sanchez and Miotti, come in the backline, with Ledesma opting for a fresh pair of wings and a new centre.
Bordeaux duo Santiago Cordero and Bautista Delguy will start on the two wings as Santiago Carreras and Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Ignacio Mendy, both dropped out of the matchday squad.
Toulouse midfielder Santiago Chocobares, meanwhile, has been demoted to the bench, allowing seasoned campaigner Matias Moroni to start at No.13.
In the forward pack, a fresh prop pairing sees the inexperienced Facundo Gigena and Western Force tighthead Santiago Medrano replace Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro and Francisco Gomez Kodela, both of whom have returned to their clubs in Europe.
A reshuffle at in the second and back rows sees Guido Petti move from openside flanker to lock, which enables Stade Francais flanker Marcos Kremer to accompany Pablo Matera and Rodrigo Bruni in the loose forwards.
Petti’s positional shift forces assertive Leicester Tigers lock Tomas Lavinini to the bench, where he joins Miotti as one of six newbies in the reserves.
Those new players include propping duo Carloe Muzzio – who is in line for his test debut – and Enrique Pieretto, halfback Felipe Ezcurra and Racing 92 fullback Emiliano Boffelli.
Experienced hooker Julian Montoya will captain the side from the No 2 jersey.
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Facundo Gigena
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Carloe Muzzio, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso, 21 Gonzalo Garcia, 22 Santiago Chocobares, 23 Emiliano Boffelli
Date: Sunday, September 12
Venue: Robina Stadium, Gold Coast
Kick-off: 17.05 (19.05 NZST; 07.05 GMT; 04.05 ART)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Graham Cooper (AUS)
TMO: Brett Cronan (AUS)
By Alex McLeod, RugbyPass