England’s opponents for their opening World Cup game, Argentina, have given a pretty firm indication of the 15 players that will line up for the two country’s opening Pool B match on September 10th. The Puma’s have named a full-strength side for this weekend’s warm-up match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium, with only Gonzalo Tiesi missing out through a shoulder injury with Marcelo Bosch stepping in, although the former Harlequins centre is expected to recover in time to take on the English. Those looking for Betfair Rugby World Cup tips should keep an eye on his progress.
The intimidating Argentinean front-row will line-up together again, with Juan Figallo rejoining fellow veterans Rodrigo Roncero and Mario Ledesma as the front three. The trio were all part of the squad that finished a surprise third place at the tournament four years ago. Another member of that squad, Felipe Contepomi, will lead the team against the Welsh, with the fly-half expected to be given the role for the duration of the World Cup.
Head coach Santiago Phelan named his 30-man squad early in a bid to create a settled unit ahead of what will be a tough pool section. Both England and Scotland will be the Puma’s biggest threat in the South American’s plans to reach the knock-out section. While England will probably fancy their chances of topping the group, Argentina and Scotland will be battling it out for that all important second spot. Anyone betting on rugby will wonder if either side can cause an upset.
This Argentinean side have improved year upon year and could well be challenging for a place in the latter stages this time around, although the element of surprise which has brought the South Americans previous success won’t be as strong this year.
This will be the Puma’s first real test in their final World Cup preparations, following a comprehensive 78-15 demolition of a fairly weak South American XV, with the Welsh coming off their 19-9 victory against England. Following the game in Cardiff and the 30 members of the already named Argentinean squad will take on Worcester before flying off to New Zealand.