Argentina restored to near full-strength for Boks
Argentina retained just two players from their last starting line-up when they named a near full-strength side for their opening match of the Rugby Championship against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday (local time).
Injured winger Juan Imhoff is the only major absentee from the squad named on Thursday (local time) by coach Daniel Hourcade, who had rested most of his first-choice selections for the June tests against Ireland and Scotland.
Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and winger Manuel Montero are the only players retained from the side that lost 21-19 to Scotland in Cordoba in their last test on June 20.
"The players have had very good preparation and trust they will be able to deliver on the pitch," Hourcade told reporters as he named the team.
Argentina spent close to a month at a high-performance centre in the USA in June and July to prepare for the four-nation competiton, where they will also meet Australia and New Zealand.
"They are very focused and expect to have a good game on Saturday," Hourcade added.
England-based hooker Agustin Creevy, 29, will captain the side for the first time but will not be short of experienced advisors with former skippers Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Fernandez Lobbe and Martin Landajo all in the line-up.
Fernandez Lobbe returns after an injury-plagued season as does centre Juan Martin Hernandez, both of whom last played for the Pumas last October.
Argentina are participating in the Rugby Championship for a third year but are yet to win a match.
ARGENTINA: Joaquin Tuculet, Horacio Agulla, Marcelo Bosch, Juan Martin Hernandez, Manuel Montero, 1Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Paul Matera, Thomas Lavanini, Mariano Galarza, Ramiro Herrera Agustin Creevy (captain), Marcos Ayerza. Reserves: Matias Cortese, Paz Lucas Noguera, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Matias Alemanno, Leonardo Senatore, Thomas Cubelli, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino