Contepomi, Roncero bring experience to Pumas

Wed, 06 Jun 11:52:00 2012

Argentina have included experienced duo Felipe Contepomi and Rodrigo Roncero in a largely experimental line-up to face Italy in San Juan on Saturday, the first of three June Tests for the Pumas.

2011 Argentina Felipe Contepomi Rodrigo Roncero - 0

The veteran pair were part of the Argentina side that finished third at the 2007 World Cup but are close to international retirement and unlikely to be in the squad when the Pumas debut in The Rugby Championship in August.

Centre Contepomi will captain what is effectively a second-string side in the three Tests, with Argentina also hosting France the following two Saturdays.

Coach Santiago Phelan, who named the side on Tuesday, has reserved his elite players for The Rugby Championship, the former southern hemisphere Tri-Nations tournament now expanded to include Argentina.

New Zealand, Australia and South Africa are the other three teams involved.

Versatile back and place-kicker Contepomi is a veteran of four World Cups and his Stade Francais team-mate and prop Roncero has played in three. The June squad includes six other players with World Cup experience.

Phelan recently named 24 Europe-based players for The Rugby Championship, with Racing Metro fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez back from injury after missing last year's World Cup in New Zealand.

He will add six players from the party playing the June Tests to that squad as Argentina face 12 international matches for the first time in a year, having previously usually had only six in the June and November Test windows.

Argentina make their debut in The Rugby Championship away to South Africa on August 18.

Team to play Italy at the Bicentenario stadium in San Juan on Saturday

15-Joaquin Tuculet; 14-Belisario Agulla, 13-Gabriel Ascarate; 12-Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11-Agustin Gosio, 10-Ignacio Mieres, 9-Martin Landajo; 8-Leonardo Senatore, 7-Tomas Leonardi, 6-Genaro Fessia, 5-Julio Farias Cabello, 4-Esteban Lozada, 3-Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2-Eusebio Guinazu, 1-Rodrigo Roncero.

Replacements: 16-Bruno Postiglioni, 17-Naheil Tetaz Chaparro, 18-Benjamin Macome, 19-Tomas de la vega, 20-Tomas Cubelli, 21-Manuel Montero, 22-Roman Miralles.


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