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Los Pumas name unchanged starting XV for Wallabies clash

By Alex McLeod

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Los Pumas head coach Mario Ledesma has opted for consistency in his match day selection by making no changes to his starting side for this week’s Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies in Townsville.

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The Argentines remain winless in the Rugby Championship this season, with their most recent defeat coming in their second successive match against the All Blacks in Brisbane last week.

Despite the 36-13 scoreline, it was an improved performance by Los Pumas against the Kiwis, who had overhauled their side after pumping the South Americans 39-0 on the Gold Coast the week beforehand.

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For large parts of the contest at Suncorp Stadium, particularly in the second half, Argentina managed to pile plenty of pressure on New Zealand’s defence.

Although the All Blacks held firm for the most part, Los Pumas were able to score their first try against the world’s number one ranked side in three tests when Emiliano Boffelli latched onto a Santiago Carreras kick midway through the second half.

Boffelli proved to be one of the standouts in that contest as he scored all of his side’s points, which has proven to be enough for Ledesma to retain him on the left wing, where he will again partner Santiago Cordero and Juan Cruz Mallia in the back three.

Midfield duo Santiago Chocobarres and Lucio Cinti will don the No 12 and No 13 jerseys for the second straight week, while Carreras, who is inexperienced as a playmaker, will link up with halfback Gonzalo Bertranou in the halves.

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Juan Martin Gonzalez, Marcos Kremer and Pablo Matera make up the loose forward trio, and they will be joined by the pack by locks Matias Alemanno and Tomas Lavanini.

Hooker and captain Julian Montoya will once again lead the team from the front row, where he will pack down alongside props Facundo Gigena and Santiago Medrano.

While the starting team features no fresh faces, Ledesma has introduced three new players onto the bench after they missed last week’s showing against the All Blacks.

Loosehead prop Carlos Muzzio, veteran flanker Tomas Lezana and midfielder Matias Moroni have all been replaced in the reserves by a trio of uncapped prospects.

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In their places come 24-year-old prop Rodrigo Martinez, 20-year-old loose forward Joaquin Oviedo and 21-year-old wing Matias Carreras, all of whom are in line to make their test debuts at Queensland Country Banks Stadium.

Los Pumas side to face Wallabies

1. Facundo Gigena, 2. Julian Montoya (captain), 3. Santiago Medrano, 4. Matias Alemanno, 5. Tomas Lavanini, 6. Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso, 7. Marcos Kremer, 8. Pablo Matera, 9. Gonzalo Bertranou, 10. Santiago Carreras, 11. Emiliano Boffelli, 12. Santiago Chocobares, 13. Lucio Cinti, 14. Santiagio Cordero, 15. Juan Cruz Mallia.

Replacements: 16. Santiago Socino, 17. Rodrigo Martinez Manzano, 18. Enrique Pieretto, 19. Guido Petti, 20. Joaquin Oviedo, 21. Gonzalo Garcia, 22. Domingo Miotti, 23. Mateo Carreras.

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Los Pumas name unchanged starting XV for Wallabies clash

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