De Vedia keeping his cool



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Tomas De Vedia insists he is not nervous ahead of his senior debut for Argentina in Saturday’s first Test against Ireland in Santa Fe as others look to press their claims for a place in the World Cup squad.

France host the tournament in less than four months’ time and head coach Marcelo Loffreda has admitted that up to 25% of the squad has yet to decided.

So there are possibilities for several of Saturday’s starting XV at Brigadier Estanislao Lopez stadium but De Vedia is adamant there is no pressure on him as a debutant.

“I’m the only new player in this squad, so my presence is very different to the others,” said the Saracens winger.

“However, as it is my first time, I have nothing to lose. I come to play well and if I can do so and then be included in further nominations, it would be great.”

“I’m shocked. I try not to think about this a lot because perhaps it is not positive, but I am very happy.”

Bernardo Stortoni returns to the national team after 17 months following a health problem that ruled him out for four months.

The Bristol full-back believes the game presents a big opportunity to show what he can do.

“I’m very happy,” Stortoni said. “I’ll enjoy the match and do my best.

“Ireland came with several reserves and several of the best Argentinians will not play the first Test, so it will be a good chance for both teams and players who want to have a chance in the top team.”

Marcos Ayerza will be the left-side prop in the team captained by Felipe Contepomi, in a team missing the likes of Agustin Pichot, Ignacio Corleto, Patricio Albacete or Omar Hasan.

Despite this, Argentina will have a very strong third row, with Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Fernandez Lobbe and Martin Durand.

Glasgow Warriors wing Francisco Leonelli expects “a terribly tough Test.”

“They (Ireland) have a very good, quite strong team, who are trying to do integral play,” said Leonelli.

“Ireland have tough players and backs can really hurt, so we must be well-organised and play well if we want to win.”

Leonelli also insisted he would dismiss all thoughts of the World Cup.

“Motivation is to play for Argentina,” the winger added.

“If you think about the World Cup more than this match you are wrong, because you have the risk things will not work well.

“If we have anything else but Saturday’s game in mind, we’ll surely make mistakes.”

A number of players dropped out of Loffreda’s 22-man squad.

CASI hooker Pablo Gambarini had a muscular injury on his left leg, while Biarritz prop Gaston De Robertis was committed to his club team and SIC full-back Federico Serra had not recovered from eye surgery.

CSBJ Rugby prop Pablo Federico Cardinali, Northampton hooker Matias Cortese and Hindu wing Horacio Agulla replaced them in the squad.

Four of the fifteen Pumas play in their homeland – Hernan Senillosa, Nicolas Vergallo, Esteban Lozada and Alberto Vernet Basualdo – while Genaro Fessia, James Stuart, Juan Fernandez Miranda and Horacio Agulla.

365 Digital

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