Rugby World Cup
Pumas sweat on Hernandez fitness
ESPNscrum Staff
June 18, 2011
Argentina's fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez (C) runs with the ball during the Rugby union World Cup pool D match Ireland v. Argentina at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on September 30, 2007
Hernandez has had a season disrupted by injury but will hope to be in World Cup contention © Getty Images

Juan Martin Hernandez' Rugby World Cup hopes appear to be hanging by a thread after he was left out of Argentina's 39-man preliminary training squad for this year's tournament.

Hernandez, a star of the Pumas' outstanding 2007 World Cup campaign, is currently sidelined with a knee ligament injury he suffered on domestic duty with Racing Metro in March and the 28-year-old is set to remain with his Top 14 employers to continue his rehabilitation instead of joining the rest of Santiago Phelan's squad in Florida next month.

But Phelan insists that the 28-year-old playmaker is still in his thoughts and he may yet make the grade for the sport's showpiece event. "Later on we'll evaluate along with the medical staff how his recuperation is progressing to see if he is fit to be called up," the Pumas' boss told Reuters.

Phelan's side have just drawn a two-match series with the French Barbarians and will continue their World Cup preparations against a South America XV on August 6 before tackling Wales in Cardiff on August 20 by which time the squad will have been reduced.

Argentina are set to be captained by recent Stade Francais signing Felipe Contepomi while Toulon's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Lyon's Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Toulouse lock Patricio Albacete and Leicester Tigers' winger Horacio Agulla among the other familiar names in the latest squad.

Argentina squad:

Forwards: P Albacete (Toulouse), M Ayerza (Leicester Tigers), A Bordoy (Pau), M Bustos (Montpellier), J Cabello (Tucuman RC), A Campos (Agen), M Carizza (Biarritz), A Creevy (Montpellier), G Fessia (Cordoba Athletic), J Figallo (Montpellier), M Galarza (unattached), A Galindo (Racing Metro), E Guinazu (Biarritz), S Guzman (Tucuman RC), M Ledesma (Clermont), JM Leguizamon (Lyon), JF Lobbe (Toulon), R Roncero (Stade Francais), MScelzo (Agen), L Senatore (Gimnasia Rosario), T Vallejos (Harlequins)

Backs: H Agulla (Leicester Tigers), M Bosch (Biarritz), L Amorosino (Montpellier), G Azcarate (Natacion y Gimnasia), L Borges (Pucara), R Carballo (Bordeaux), G Camacho (Exeter), F Contepomi (Stade Francais, captain), S Fernandez (Montpellier), A Figuerola (Brive), A Gosio (Newman), J Imhoff (Duendes), A Lalanne (London Irish), M Moyano (Montpellier), M Rodriguez (Stade Francais), N Sanchez (Tucuman Lawn Tennis), G Tiesi (Stade Francais), N Vergallo (Toulouse)

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