The return to the national team of Juan Imhoff and the debut of Santiago Chocobares are the novelties in the albiceleste team that will be measured against the fearsome All Blacks.
The Pumas have everything ready for their debut against the All Blacks in the Three Nations, this Saturday, in Sydney, starting at 3.10 in our country and with ESPN2 television. With a single change compared to the last friendly against Australia XV, Mario Ledesma confirmed this Thursday the starting team for the match against New Zealand, which will mark the return of Juan Imhoff and the debut of Santiago Chocobares.
Imhoff had played his last match with the light blue and white jersey in the semifinals of the 2015 World Cup in England against Australia. After that tournament, the French Racing 92 player left Los Pumas due to the decision of the UAR to restrict the participation of European club players in the team.
That rule was relaxed before the World Cup in Japan last year and Ledesma decided to call him again in 2020 for the special edition of the Rugby Championship, transformed into a Three Nations due to the loss of South Africa due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, the Rosario will go out this Saturday to the field and will be one of the three in the background, along with Baptist Delguy Y Santiago Carreras.
“Juan is living it like the first time he was called. It is important to have his experience, it is contagious for young people to have a player of their hierarchy nearby and to observe the good habits he has. He is one of the players who played the most minutes this year “Ledesma commented.
Chocobares, meanwhile, will play his first international match with Los Pumas. The 21-year-old from Santa Fe, trained at the Pampas de Rufino club, will become Puma number 866 to wear the national jersey. He will accompany in the center of the court Matias Orlando.
“It is no secret to anyone that we had problems in the center of the court. It is a good opportunity to see how Santiago (Chocobares) reacts, who surprised us by how he came physically prepared after the stop and is very consistent in everything. He has a good energy and predisposition in all workouts “, analyzed the Argentine coach.
It will also be among the 15 holders Francisco Gomez Kodela, who played his last test match in 2013 against Georgia, and will be on the front row with Julian Montoya Y Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
On the other hand, Jerónimo De La Fuente and Emiliano Boffelli They were discarded for this match because they carry muscular discomfort. While, Facundo Isa continues to recover from a tear and Santiago Socino He will return to training next week, after complying with the HIA protocol for the blow he suffered to the head in the friendly at the weekend.
Thus, Los Pumas will form with Santiago Carreras; Bautista Delguy, Matías Orlando, Santiago Chocobares, Juan Imhoff; Nicolás Sánchez, Tomás Cubelli; Rodrigo Bruni, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera; Matías Alemanno, Guido Petti; Franciso Gómez Kodela, Julián Montoya and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
On the substitute bench will be Facundo Bosch, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Santiago Grondona, Tomás Lezana, Gonzalo Bertranou, Lucio Cinti and Santiago Cordero.
The Argentine national team will play an official match again after 13 months and five days, in a special season in which the global health crisis forced the friendlies in the June and November windows to be canceled and the Rugby Championship calendar changed.
This will be the first clash between New Zealand and Argentina in Australia. The only time that he had crossed them on neutral ground was at the 2015 World Cup and with the victory by 26 to 16 of the “Men in Black”.
The last duel between the two selected was in Buenos Aires, on July 20, 2019. For the first date of this same tournament, the oceanic won by 20 to 16 at the Vélez stadium.
“I am very happy to be able to prepare for a game against the All Blacks after such a long time. I think that the goal we were looking for this weekend was achieved. We are excited to see how we take that to the court in this game. We do not have to leave spaces in the first line of defense and always sing the change in the brand “, Ledesma anticipated.