NELSON – Argentina, exuding a renewed self-belief, have made four changes to their side for the Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Nelson on Saturday.
A win over South Africa in their last outing, snapping an 11-match losing streak in the competition, has boosted Argentina's confidence as they pursue a first-ever victory over New Zealand.
In the side named Thursday, Garcia Botta enters the front row to replace Juan Figallo who has returned to his club Saracens, while Tomas Lezana will start on the flank with Pablo Matera dropping to the bench.
Scrum-half Martin Landajo gets his first start since playing Scotland in June with Tomas Cubelli in the reserves, while Jeronimo de la Fuenta replaces Bautista Ezcurra in the centres.
There are also three new faces among the replacements in Juan Pablo Zeiss, Julian Montoya and Gaston Cortes.
The Pumas have never beaten the All Blacks in their 26 previous Tests, with a 21-all draw 33 years ago their best effort.
But their recent 32-19 win over South Africa in Mendoza has done wonders for morale, according to wing Ramiro Moyano, who clinched the victory with their fourth and final try.
“The victory against South Africa helped a lot in that sense because it gave us a lot of confidence to win and see that what we are doing is paying off,” he said.
“We have to keep trusting in our game plan and, fundamentally, try not to make mistakes.”
The Argentina team (15-1) is:
Emiliano Boffelli; Bautista Delguy, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano; Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Tomas Lezana; Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti; Chaparro Tetaz, Agustin Creevy (capt), Garcia Botta.
Replacements: Julian Montoya, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Gaston Cortez, Matias Alemanno, Pablo Matera, Tomas Cubelli, Bautista Ezcurra, Juan Cruz Mallia.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)