Rugby Championship
Pumas return to strength for Boks clash
ESPN Staff
August 14, 2014
Joaquin Tuculet will make his Rugby Championship debut against South Africa © Getty Images

Argentina have named a near full-strength side for their opening Rugby Championship clash with South Africa on Saturday, although coach Daniel Hourcade has included three rookies in the starting line-up.

Tight-head prop Ramiro Herrera plays in only his third Test while winger Manuel Montero and fullback Joaquin Tuculet will both start in Pretoria.

Injured winger Juan Imhoff is the most notable absentee while fly-half Nicolas Sanchez is one of only two players retained from the Pumas starting XV in their last Test, a 21-19 defeat to Scotland in Cordoba on June 20.

Matías Cortese, Lucas Noguera Paz, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Matías Alemanno and Santiago González Iglesias all make the bench.

"The players have had a very good build-up and we trust that they will give a good account of themselves," Hourcade said. "The team is very focused we are expecting to have a great game."

Hourcade is expecting a tough first round clash at Loftus Versfeld with the Springboks, who have been handed a boost with the return of their captain Jean de Villiers.

Damian de Allende has also been handed his Test debut by Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer and counterpart Hourcade is wary of the hosts' threat.

"They have very strong players and play a very physical game - both in attack and defence," Hourcade said. "The key will not to let them get comfortable.

"Discipline will also be crucial. We talked a lot and trained hard for this. Defence will also be key, but when we have opportunities to attack, we intend to do - as we have been training - to do it with a lot of dynamism. The biggest challenge is that we want to impose our offensive system."

Argentina: 15. Joaquín Tuculet, 14. Horacio Agulla, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Juan Martín Hernández, 11. Manuel Montero, 10. Nicolás Sánchez, 9. Martín Landajo, 8. Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 7. Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 6. Pablo Matera, 5. Tomás Lavanini, 4. Mariano Galarza, 3. Ramiro Herrera, 2. Agustín Creevy (captain), 1. Marcos Ayerza.

Replacements: 16. Matías Cortese, 17. Lucas Noguera Paz, 18. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19. Matías Alemanno, 20. Leonardo Senatore, 21. Tomás Cubelli, 22. Santiago González Iglesias, 23. Lucas González Amorosino.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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