BUENOS AIRES – Argentina have made seven changes to the team that upset South Africa 37-25 in the Rugby Championship in Durban last weekend for Saturday’s second test against the Springboks at Velez Sarsfield.
The Pumas, who made sure the Boks picked up the tournament’s wooden spoon by recording their first ever win in 20 encounters, are expecting a backlash in a World Cup warmup arranged to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Argentina’s maiden tour, to Africa in 1965.
“This is going to be a much harder match because second tests against the same team are always much more difficult,” number eight Juan Manuel Leguizamon told Reuters.
Coach Daniel Hourcade, who on Wednesday announced four changes and one tactical switch among the backs and three alterations in the pack, has again rotated his players as he prepares for the World Cup in England and Wales starting on Sept. 18.
“The teams for each match were decided in advance to get (the players) to the World Cup with the right number of minutes,” Hourcade told reporters.
“We know (South Africa) are going to try to change their image and we have to be prepared for a battle.”
Martin Landajo and Nicolas Sanchez return as halfback partners while Juan Martin Hernandez, flyhalf last Saturday, moves to inside centre in place of Jeronimo de la Fuente.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
Juan Imhoff, who scored a hat-trick of tries in Durban, keeps his place on the right wing with Santiago Cordero coming in on the left for Horacio Agulla and Matias Moroni replacing Marcelo Bosch at outside centre.
The front row, instrumental to Argentina’s dominance in the scrum in Durban, remains unchanged but Benjamin Macome comes in for Guido Petti at lock.
Tomas Lezana and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe are named in the back row ahead of Leonardo Senatore and Pablo Matera with Leguizamon moving from openside flanker to number eight.
Argentina open their World Cup Pool C challenge against holders New Zealand at Wembley on Sept. 20. They also face Georgia, Tonga and Namibia.
South Africa are in Group B along with Samoa, Japan, Scotland and United States.
(Writing by Rex Gowar, editing by Tony Jimenez)(Reuters)