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Argentina makes three changes for Saturday's match vs Australia

Pumas play the Wallabies on Saturday in a Rugby Championship match on the Gold Coast south of Brisban, seeking to end a 35-year losing streak.

Thursday 13 September, 2018
Argentina faced New Zealand at Trafalgar Park in Nelson, New Zealand, on September 8, 2018.
Argentina faced New Zealand at Trafalgar Park in Nelson, New Zealand, on September 8, 2018. Foto:Marty Melville-AFP

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Argentina coach Mario Ledesma made three changes, tweaking his forward pack and promoting a new half-back, for Saturday's Rugby Championship test against Australia.

The Pumas lost their last match 46-24 to New Zealand last weekend.

One of the changes announced Thursday was forced, with flanker Tomás Lezana ruled out due to a torn hamstring and replaced at No. 6 by Pablo Matera.

Santiago Medrano will also start at prop with Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro moving from tighthead to loosehead.

Meanwhile, Gonzalo Bertranou will wear the No. 9 jersey, bumping Martín Landajo to the bench and former ACT Brumbies half-back Tomás Cubelli out of the squad.

The Pumas have lost 15 of their last 16 Tests against Australia, but after beating South Africa last month there is a belief that the miserable run can be brought to an end.

"Why not?" said Ledesma, a former Wallabies forwards coach who is a close friend of his Australian counterpart Michael Cheika.

"Even though we lost by 20 points [against the All Blacks], I think there's a lot of positives from the game."

As expected, flanker David Pocock and Israel Folau were named by Cheika to make their return to the starting line-up. Pocock had a neck injury and Folau trained strongly after sustaining an ankle injury in the opening Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand.

Folau has been named on the right wing with Dane Haylett-Petty to retain the No. 15 jersey after two strong performances at fullback.

Cheika said he believes Folau's best position is at fullback, but said Haylett-Petty deserved to remain at 15.

"Just something different, shake it up a bit and see how we go," Cheika said. "He's keen for it ... no one volunteers and tells the coach where they're going to play."

Adam Coleman returned to the Wallabies camp after the birth of his first child in Melbourne on =/Sunday and will start on the bench against Argentina.

Prop Sekope Kepu is set to earn his 97th test cap on Saturday with the veteran also named among the reserves, after missing the match-day 23 for the Wallabies' 23-18 win over South Africa last weekend.

Argentina is seeking its first win in Australia in 35 years.

Saturday's match will mark the first time Ledesma, the former Australian forwards coach, goes head-to-head against his former colleagues.

Lineups:

Australia: Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (captain), Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio.

Reserves: Folau Faingaa, Sekope Kepu, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Jack Maddocks.

Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Bautista Delguy, Matías Moroni, Jerónimo De La Fuente, Ramiro Moyano, Nicolás Sánchez, Gonzalo Bertranou, Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera, Tomás Lavanini, Guido Petti, Santiago Medrano, Agustín Creevy (captain), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.

Reserves: Julián Montoya, Santiago Garcia Botta, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Matias Alemanno, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Martín Landajo, Bautista Ezcurra, Juan Cruz Mallía.

- AP

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