Gaston Cortes in action. Photo: @BristolBears on twitter

BUENOS AIRES – England-based forward Gaston Cortes has been included in a 30-man Argentina squad for Rugby Championship matches in New Zealand and Australia during September.  

The 32-year-old Leicester Tigers prop has played four times for the national B team, but this is his first call-up for the senior squad, the Pumas.

Cortes emigrated to England in 2012 and made more than 100 appearances for Bristol before joining Leicester.

He is the second Europe-based Argentine to be selected since the South American nation recently relaxed a policy of choosing only locals since the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Prop Juan Figallo played in home and away Tests against South Africa this month before returning to another English Premiership club, Saracens.  

Recently appointed coach Mario Ledesma has recalled centre Matias Orlando, hooker Julian Montoya and loose forward Juan Manuel Leguizemon, who have recovered from injuries. 

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The trio missed the matches against the Springboks with Argentina recovering from a 34-21 loss in Durban to triumph 32-19 in Mendoza last weekend.

Ledesma has expressed concern about the Pumas scrum ahead of the matches in New Zealand and Australia - countries where Argentina have never won in the Rugby Championship.

"We scrummed well during the first half in Mendoza, but struggled after the break," said the former Pumas hooker.

After training in Buenos Aires, the squad will travel to New Zealand Thursday for the Test in Napier on September 8.

New Argentina coach Mario Ledesma. Photo: Pachy Reynoso/EPA
New Argentina coach Mario Ledesma. Photo: Pachy Reynoso/EPA

The Argentina squad is:

Forwards (16)

Matias Alemanno, Santiago Garcia Botta, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Gaston Cortes, Agustín Creevy (capt), Javier Ortega Desio, Diego Fortuny, Marcos Kremer, Tomas Lavanini, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Tomas Lezana, Pablo Matera, Santiago Medrano, Julian Montoya, Guido Petti, Juan Pablo Zeiss

Backs (14)

Gonzalo Bertranou, Emiliano Boffelli, Tomas Cubelli, Bautista Delguy, Bautista Ezcurra, Santiago Alvarez Fourcade, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Martin Landajo, Juan Cruz Mallia, Matias Moroni, Ramiro Moyano, Matias Orlando, Nicolas Sanchez
Coach: Mario Ledesma (ARG)

Agence France-Presse (AFP)