Buenos Aires, Argentina – Veteran center Felipe Contepomi has been recalled as one of two changes to Argetina's lineup for Saturday's Rugby Championship Test against struggling Australia.
Coach Santiago Phelan announced the backline changes on Tuesday, with Contepomi replacing Santiago Fernandez and Horacio Agulla coming in for Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
Argentina has lost all five of its matches this season in the four-nation championship, including a 33-15 loss on Saturday against New Zealand. It was also winless last season, its first in the championship.
Phelan did not say it outright, but many in Argentina see the Rosario test against the two-time World Cup champions as the potential droughtbreaker. The Wallabies have only one win in the 2013 Rugby Championship - a dour 14-13 win against the Pumas in a wet and windy match at Perth - and have been struggling for cohesion under new coach Ewen McKenzie.
It will be tougher for the Wallabies on Argentine soil, playing in the city or Rosario - the birthplace of football star Lionel Messi.
“As always, we think we have our best 15 to start the game,” Phelan said. “Felipe and Horacio are two great players who bring a lot to the team. The team has been playing well and these two experienced players are important.”
Phelan rejected suggestions he should have made more changes.
“We didn't make more changes because we think this is our best,” he said.
Argentina Lineup: Juan Martin Hernandez, Horacio Agulla, Marcelo Bosch, Felipe Contepomi, Juan Imhoff, Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Pablo Matera, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), Patricio Albacete, Julio Farias Cabello, Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Marcos Ayerza. – Sapa-AP