BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina made two changes to its starting 15 on Wednesday for the Rugby Championship rematch against South Africa in Salta this weekend.
Both switches were in the backline, where Juan Martin Hernandez was named at inside center after being a late withdrawal from the team that lost 13-6 in South Africa in the opening round of the southern hemisphere tournament. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino replaced Horacio Agulla on the right wing.
Coach Daniel Hourcade stuck with the same eight forwards that impressed in Argentina's narrow loss in terrible conditions in Pretoria, where driving rain and a water-logged field spoiled the contest. Captain and hooker Agustin Creevy will again lead a forward pack that troubled the No. 2-ranked South Africans in the first game. Argentina scrummed better and regularly disrupted the South Africans' lineout at Loftus Versfeld.
Prop Marcos Ayerza was in line to play his 50th test when Argentina hosts South Africa in the northeastern city of Salta on Saturday. The Pumas are searching for their first win in their 14th game in the four-nation Rugby Championship after joining in 2012. The closest Argentina has come was a 16-16 draw with South Africa in Argentina two years ago.
The Pumas have a history of pushing South Africa close in games in Argentina, although the South Americans have still never beaten the Boks in a test.
Australia and defending champion New Zealand drew 12-12 in Sydney in the other opening-round game last weekend and will meet again in Auckland on Saturday.
Argentina: Joaquin Tuculet, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Marcelo Bosch, Juan Martin Hernandez, Manuel Montero, Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Mariano Galarza, Ramiro Herrera, Agustin Creevy (captain), Marcos Ayerza. Reserves: Matias Cortese, Bruno Postiglioni, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Matias Alemanno, Leonardo Senatore, Tomas Cubelli, Jeronimo De la Fuente, Horacio Agulla.
South Africa: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Handre Pollard, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Juan Smith, Francios Louw, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp. Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira, Frans Malherbe, Bakkies Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Lwazi Mvovo.