Argentina replace Cubelli with Ezcurra for South Africa Test

Johannesburg (AFP) –


Argentina have made one change, replacing scrum-half Tomas Cubelli with Felipe Ezcurra, from the team that started a win over Wales last month for a Rugby Championship clash in South Africa on Saturday.

There are three alterations to the bench following a 33-11 triumph in Cardiff with prop Carlos Muzzio, scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou and utility back Sebastian Cancelliere promoted.

They take the places of Facundo Gigena, Ezcurra and veteran winger Juan Imhoff for the opening round match in the annual southern hemisphere championship.

Hooker Julian Montoya, for many seasons the Tests understudy of now retired Argentine rugby legend Agustin Creevy, skippers the team against the world champions in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).

Since losing to France and England and failing to reach the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in Japan, the Pumas have played seven matches, winning three, drawing three and losing one.

The sole defeat was 38-0 to New Zealand in a 2020 Rugby Championship reduced to three countries because the coronavirus pandemic prevented defending champions the Springboks taking part.

Heavy though the beating was, it could not dampen spirits in an Argentine camp jubilant after a 25-15 triumph over the All Blacks two weeks earlier, their first over the three-time world champions.

South Africa will tackle the Pumas one week after completing a 2-1 series victory over the British and Irish Lions.

Team (15-1)

Santiago Carreras; Bautista Delguy, Santiago Chocobares, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Matias Moroni; Nicolas Sanchez, Felipe Ezcurra; Rodrigo Bruni, Facundo Isa, Pablo Matera; Marcos Kremer, Guido Petti; Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya (capt), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Replacements: Facundo Bosch, Carlos Muzzio, Santiago Medrano, Tomas Lavanini, Matías Alemanno, Gonzalo Bertranou, Domingo Miotti, Sebastian Cancelliere

Coach: Mario Ledesma (ARG)