Argentina v Georgia preview: Pumas to get their first points on the board
World Champions New Zealand were made to look distinctly average by Argentina, who have proven time and again that they are a real force on the World stage. Georgia meanwhile are looking to make it two from two in Pool C.
Argentina were narrowly beaten by a 10 point margin against the All Blacks, but they showed signs of their trademark attacking flair and ingenuity.
The Pumas have won just two of their last five games heading into this crucial encounter, but they have a lot more to offer than what they have produced, and they remain the second favourites to qualify from the group.
Georgia are searching for consecutive World Cup wins for the first time in their history. The European nation are in good form in the competition, having now picked up victories in two of their last three World Cup games.
The Lelos had lost their last four Tests heading into their tournament opener against Tonga and pulled off a shock result with a 17-10 win to place them on four points.
There are just three changes to the Pumas side that ran New Zealand close. Matias Alemanno, Manuel Leguizamon and Facundo Isa are replace Guido Petti, Pablo Matera and Leonardo Senatore respectively.
Leguizamon made a cameo against the All Blacks, but by starting this match, it makes this the oldest starting lineup for Argentina in over a year.
Lock Mariano Galarza has been suspended for nine weeks following an act of foul play, regarding “contact with the eye or eye area” against Brodie Rettalick of New Zealand.
Georgia are keeping faith with the XV that beat Tonga and field an unchanged side for the first time ever in a World Cup.
The most capped and leading points scoring Georgian Merab Kvirikashvilli stretches yet another record, of participating in every one of his nation’s Rugby World Cup matches.
A versatile back, Kvirikashvilli is set to play in his 14th World Cup game, and will look to add to his crucial seven points earned against the Tongans, and his World Cup tally of 70.
Coach Milton Haig is also favouring experience, as he fields Georgia’s most capped side to ever grace the competition, with a combined 632 caps.
Players to watch
The Pumas inspirational Captain will lead their charge for a first win in this year’s Rugby World Cup from the front row. The experienced hooker will be critical at both the scrum with his power and the lineout with his steady hands. These are the two areas that could make the difference between winning and losing against a very physical Georgian pack. Expect to see the 30-year-old in the thick of it from the very start.
The joy of a try against Tonga was clear to see across the whole team, and big back row Tkhilaishvili was the man that scored it. Georgia’s best bet of repeating the feat against Argentina will once again be through the backs. The Lelos showed that they like to for the line in short sharp bursts, and Tkhilaishvili could capitalize once again.
Argentina simply have to win here, as two games without collecting any points will surely prove disastrous for their chances of escaping the Pool. The Pumas showed glimpses of what they can do against New Zealand, and their class should tell against the minnows here. Georgia will not go down without a fight, but just like Japan, they may well have had their moment in the sun.
Argentina by 15.
Argentina: 15. Joaquin Tuculet; 14. Santiago Cordero, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Juan Martin Hernandez, 11. Juan Imhoff, 10. Nicolas Sanchez, 9. Tomas Cubelli, 8. Facundo Isa, 7. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6. Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 5. Tomas Lavanini, 4. Matias Alemanno, 3. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2. Agustin Creevy, 1. Marcos Ayerza
16. Julian Montoya, 17. Lucas Noguera, 18. Ramiro Herrera, 19. Javier Ortega Desio, 20. Pablo Matera, 21. Martin Landajo, 22. Jeronimo De La Fuente, 23. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino
Georgia: 15. Merab Kvirikashvili, 14. Tamaz Mchedlidze, 13. Davit Kacharava, 12. Merab Sharikadze, 11. Giorgi Aptsiauri, 10. Lasha Malaguradze, 9. Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8. Mamuka Gorgodze, 7. Viktor Kolelishvili, 6. Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 5. Konstantine Mikautadze, 4. Giorgi Nemsadze, 3. Davit Zirakashvili, 2. Jaba Bregvadze, 1. Mikheil Nariashvili
16. Shalva Mamukashvili, 17. Karlen Asieshvili, 18. Levan Chilachava, 19. Levan Datunashvili, 20. Shalva Sutiashvili, 21. Giorgi Begadze, 22. Giorgi Pruidze, 23. Murazi Giorgadze
Date: Friday, September 25
Venue: Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens, Stuart Berry
Television match official: Ben Skeen