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Australia hope to build momentum against Pumas

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Australia’s Wallabies are hoping to build on the momentum they created by beating South Africa when they take on Argentina in Mendoza Saturday in a Rugby Championship match.

Australia surged in the final minutes of their test against South Africa who were leading by two tries with seven minutes remaining.

The Wallabies will now take on Argentina in Mendoza where last year the Pumas beat Australia to win their first Rugby Championship match.

Last week a try by centre Tevita Kundrani after the siren signaling full-time sounded earned the Wallabies a 24-20 win against the Springboks in Brisbane.

Victory for an Australian side that trailed by 13 points during the second half came a day after title-holders New Zealand overcame Argentina 39-18 in Christchurch in the other first-round game.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made seven changes — three forced by injuries — for the match at the 40,000-seat Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in the western city.

Injured centre Matt Giteau, winger Rob Horne and scrum-half Will Genia are replaced by Matt Toomua, Joe Tomane and Nick Phipps respectively.

An additional back line change sees Bernard Foley recalled to the starting line-up at fly-half in place of Quade Cooper.

In the pack, a good showing by tight head prop Greg Holmes when he came on as a replacement against South Africa earns him a start with Sekope Kepu dropping to the bench.

David Pocock takes over from fellow flanker Michael Hooper and Ben McCalman has been picked at No. 8 ahead of Scott Higginbotham.

Apart from the injury-induced changes, some are rotational and others form related with Higginbotham failing to replicate last weekend many outstanding Super Rugby displays.

“We are fortunate with the level of depth in the squad,” said Cheika, who steered the Waratahs to the 2014 Super Rugby title.

“All those promoted to the starting line-up against the Pumas are there on merit and have opportunities to build on what we achieved last weekend.

“We have fine playmakers in Bernard (Foley) and Quade (Cooper) and both can make an enormous impact.”

Cooper is among the eight replacements. Another substitute, utility back Kurtley Beale, will win his 50th cap if he comes on.

Cheika believes it will take a 23-man effort to avenge a 21-17 loss to Argentina last season in Mendoza after the visitors built an early 14-point advantage.

“Argentina will provide a physical challenge and our reserves have significant roles to play.

“The bench got us home against the Springboks last weekend and I will be looking for an even greater impact from our replacements this Saturday,” stressed Cheika.

Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade has also made seven changes after a mixed outing against world champions New Zealand.

He will have been encouraged by the pack power that created two driving-maul tries for hooker and skipper Agustin Creevy, but leading 2014 Rugby Championship points scorer Nicolas Sanchez flopped at fly-half.

Sanchez gets a chance to redeem himself against Australia and Santiago Cordero, switched from left-wing to full-back, is the only other back to survive.

Out go injured full-back Joaquin Tuculet, right wing Horacio Agulla, centres Marcelo Bosch and Jeronimo de la Fuente, and scrum-half Tomas Cubelli.

And in come wingers Gonzalo Camacho and Juan Imhoff, centres Matias Moroni and Juan Pablo Socino and scrum-half Martin Landajo.

Forward changes see lock Tomas Lavanini and flanker Javier Ortega Desio replace Guido Petti Pagadizabal and Juan Manuel Leguizamon.

Tradition is against the Pumas as they have not achieved successive victories against the Wallabies since their first meeting 36 years ago.

Match Official
Referee:
Jaco Peyper (RSA)

Teams

Argentina

Santiago Cordero; Gonzalo Camacho, Matias Moroni, Juan Pablo Socino, Juan Imhoff; Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Facundo Isa, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Javier Ortega Desio; Tomas Lavanini, Manuel Carizza; Ramiro Herrera, Agustin Creevy (capt), Marcos Ayerza

Replacements: Santiago Iglesias Valdez, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Matias Diaz, Matias Alemanno, Leonardo Senatore, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino

Australia

Israel Folau; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Joe Tomane; Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps; Ben McCalman, David Pocock, Scott Fardy; Rob Simmons, Will Skelton; Greg Holmes, Stephen Moore (capt), James Slipper

Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio, Sekope Kepu, Dean Mumm, Michael Hooper, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale

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