BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Scrumhalf Martin Landajo will make his return to the Argentina side to face New Zealand in the Rugby Championship clash on Saturday, as coach Daniel Hourcade made minimal changes to the side beaten by Australia in their last match.
Landajo started against the All Blacks in Hamilton where the Pumas pushed the world champions for about 50 minutes before losing 57-22.
He was replaced by Tomas Cubelli for the 36-20 loss to the Wallabies the following week in Perth but the 28-year-old returns with Cubelli dropping to the bench.
Ramiro Moyano comes in for Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino on the left wing, with one personnel change in the pack, Guido Petti coming in at lock, with Javier Ortega Desio moving from lock to the back row, while Juan Manuel Leguizamon has dropped to the bench.
“As always we have picked the best players for this match according to their form and the strategy we are going to employ,” Hourcade said on Thursday.
”We had 55 very good minutes in Hamilton and we must learn not to exhaust ourselves and (we must) manage our energy.
“We’ve got to transfer the pressure onto them when we see we’re not advancing on the field.”
The Pumas have never beaten the All Blacks in 23 previous tests, though the team hope they will be lifted by a passionate home crowd at Velez Sarsfield.
“To play at home and against the All Blacks is a huge motivation,” Hourcade added.
“The ground will surely be packed and that helps and gives you a plus that is very important.”
The Pumas, who are arguably the second best team in the competition, prop up the standings with five points from four matches, one behind South Africa who they beat in their last home test.
New Zealand, who clinched the title with a fourth successive win when they overcame South Africa 41-13 two weeks ago, have 20 points with Australia second on nine.
Team: 15-Joaquin Tuculet, 14-Santiago Cordero, 13-Matias Moroni, 12-Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 11-Ramiro Moyano, 10-Nicolas Sanchez, 9-Martin Landajo, 8-Facundo Isa, 7-Javier Ortega Desio, 6-Pablo Matera, 5-Matias Alemanno, 4-Guido Petti, 3-Ramiro Herrera, 2-Agustin Creevy, 1-Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Replacements: 16-Julian Montoya, 17-Lucas Noguera, 18-Enrique Pieretto, 19-Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 20-Leonardo Senatore, 21-Tomas Cubelli, 22-Jeronimo de la Fuente, 23-Matias Orlando
Reporting by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ken Ferris/Greg Stutchbury