Pumas out to build on Oz win

2014-11-07 14:43
Agustin Creevy (Getty Images)

Edinburgh - Buoyed by a first Rugby Championship success at Australia's expense, Argentina has its sights firmly targeted on beating Scotland at Murrayfield for a fifth straight time on Saturday.

The Pumas have won at Scotland on their last four visits, in 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2009. They have lost only once there, in their first visit in 1990, in Hugo Porta's test finale.

Argentina will field most of the side which beat Australia 21-17 in Mendoza a month ago, with five changes.

With lock Mariano Galarza sidelined by shoulder surgery, and flank Benjamin Macome out after damaging his hamstring in French Top 14 action last weekend, the Pumas will debut 1.97-metre lock Juan Cruz Guillemain, a Stade Francais backup who featured for the Jaguars in the Americas Cup win in Canada recently, and Javier Ortega Desio, who scored a try when a mainly home-based Pumas side lost to the visiting Scots 21-19 in June. The other forward change has tighthead prop Ramiro Herrera back. No 8 Facundo Isa could debut off the bench.

Captain and hooker Agustin Creevy strained his right calf in training on Tuesday but was expected to start.

Also returning to the backline were centre Marcelo Bosch and left wing Manuel Montero.

Three years of playing the world's three best teams in the Rugby Championship has raised Argentina's standards and goals, Bosch said.

"We have tried to keep more of the ball, to trust more in our system, to trust more in our players, and to take more risks. So that we can attack more and perhaps tackle less, and then, if it doesn't work, we can kick tactically," he said.

"This year, we showed we can do that in some matches, and now we have to reach a level of maturity where we can play with the ball in the good times, but kick it if we have to as well."

Meanwhile, Scotland will start 10 players from Glasgow, which is second in the Pro12, in coach Vern Cotter's first home game.

All of the backs, barring scrumhalf and captain Greig Laidlaw, are from Glasgow, including the only uncapped player in the squad, center Mark Bennett, the form player in Scotland this season.

There's a fresh-face look to the Scots, including a new loose forwards combination, flyhalf Finn Russell making his first start at Murrayfield, and a first start together for the Gray brothers, Richie, a British Lion, and Jonny, in the second row.

With a new partly artificial field laid at Murrayfield, fixing the parasitic worm infestation which turned it into mud last winter, Cotter wants his side to hold nothing back.

"A lot of philosophy we base our rugby on is initiative," Cotter said. "Taking the ball up, having a good look in front of you and having a go. We've got a great surface here and we've got players who are really excited about playing on that. Hopefully we can get some speed into it."

Read more on:    argentina  |  rugby

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