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Cheika swings the axe as Los Pumas make 11 changes

By Kim Ekin
Argentina's Pablo Matera runs with the ball during the rugby union international test match bewteen Argentina and Scotland at 23 de Agosto Stadium in San Salvador de Jujuy, Jujuy, Argentina on July 2, 2022. (Photo by Pablo GASPARINI / AFP) (Photo by PABLO GASPARINI/AFP via Getty Images)

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An injury hit Los Pumas have made 11 changes to the side that lost to Scotland in the second Test in Salta last weekend.

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The returning Pablo Matera comes back in on the blindside, taking over the captaincy from the injured Julian Montoya. Augustin Creevy replaces him, making his first start since the 2019 Rugby World Cup – at the ripe old age of 37.

Santiago Grondona replaces Marcos Kremer, who drops to the bench. In fact, just Guido Petti survives from the pack who lost to Gregor Townsend’s men last weekend.

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A debut has been handed to Lautaro Bazan Velez, a Sevens player, who will start at scrumhalf. Fellow debutants – hooker Ignacio Ruiz and flyhalf Tomas Albornoz – are named on the bench.

Many of the changes are injury-enforced. Michael Cheika’s side lost five more players to injury ahead of their decisive Test against Scotland on Saturday. As well as the aforementioned Montoya, the home team already had to do without their first-choice halfback pairing of Tomas Cubelli and Nicolas Sanchez after both tore muscles in the first Test win over the Scots in San Salvador de Jujuy on July 2.

Now they must do without Montoya, Santiago Cordero, Domingo Miotti and Felipe Ezcurra, all hurt in last Saturday’s 29-6 second Test loss in Salta.

Benjamin Urdapilleta is also out after failing to recover from a leg injury, the Argentine Rugby Union confirmed on Tuesday.

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Scotland have also opted for a raft of changes, with Townsend making eight changes from the winning side.

ARGENTINA TEAM VS SCOTLAND:
1 Thomas Gallo
2 Agustín Creevy
3 Joel Sclavi
4 Guido Petti
5 Tomás Lavanini
6 Pablo Matera (c)
7 Santiago Grondona
8 Facundo Isa
9 Lautaro Bazán Vélez
10 Santiago Carreras
11 Emiliano Boffelli
12 Matías Moroni
13 Matías Orlando
14 Bautista Delguy
15 Juan Cruz Mallía

REPLACEMENTS
16 Ignacio Ruiz
17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
18 Francisco Gómez Kodela
19 Marcos Kremer
20 Juan Martín González Samso
21 Gonzalo Bertranou
22 Tomás Albornoz
23 Lucio Cinti

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additional reporting AAP

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