Argentina v Romania, Rugby World Cup, September 17
Lobbe backing Pumas to prevail
ESPNscrum Staff
September 15, 2011
Argentina's Felipe Contepomi surveys his options, England v Argentina, Rugby World Cup, Otago Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand, September 10, 2011
Contepomi will be a big loss for the Pumas © Getty Images

Despite the loss of their talismanic fly-half Felipe Contepomi, Pumas' back-row Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe is adamant his side can overcome Romania in Invercargill on Saturday.

Contepomi suffered bruised ribs in the Pumas' 13-9 defeat to England last weekend and will miss Saturday's game as Argentina look to bounce back immediately. Argentina also lost former Harlequins and London Irish centre Gonzalo Tiesi for the tournament with ligament damage, prompting coach Santiago Phelan into a back-line reshuffle.

Santiago Fernandez takes over at fly-half and Marcelo Bosch at outside centre, while former Sale number eight Lobbe assumes the captaincy responsibilities for the seventh time in his career.

"He (Contepomi) will be missed. He's our star, the leader and the captain who can make a difference," said Lobbe. "But we believe we have a strong squad.

"It brings me great happiness (to be captain) and it is a really nice responsibility, but what always makes me glad is the opportunity to pull on this Pumas jersey."

While Argentina fell just short in a physical game against England, Romania led Scotland with seven remaining before conceding two late tries. "They have a really good pack and a good defence - we saw that against Scotland," said Lobbe. "We'll have the same approach - a great defence, keep our tackling low, and try to stop them at lineouts and rolling mauls.

"Everything we do is for the team - 110% is the only option. We will put our bodies on the line and our hearts on the pitch."

Pumas veteran hooker Mario Ledesma, who is older than both head coaches in this game, will break an Argentina record when he plays his 15 World Cup match.

Romania coach Romeo Gontineac has made three changes from the Scotland performance, including a switch for Tiberius Ionut Dimofte from inside centre to fly-half.

Argentina: Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Martin Rodriguez, Horacio Agulla, Santiago Fernandez, Nicolas Vergallo; Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Juan Figallo, Manuel Carizza, Patricio Albacete, Julio Farias Hair, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain)

Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Martin Scelzo, Mariano Galarza, Alejandro Campos, Alfredo Lalanne, Nicolas Sanchez, John Imhoff

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