Argentina v Namibia preview: Pumas to annihilate noble Namibians
- Pumas and Namibia both make 11 changes ahead of clash in Leicester
- Welwitschias Captain Jacques Burger retired from international rugby following a concussion he suffered against Georgia in their last game
- Argentina have already guaranteed their place in the final eight against France or Ireland
Only four of the Argentina side that eventually blew Tonga away 45-16 have retained their spot, with forward pair Guido Petti and Pablo Matera along with backs Martin Landajo and Matias Moroni remaining in the starting XV.
Daniel Hourcade, Pumas head coach, has made 11 changes to rest a few of their key players ahead of their quarter-final next weekend against either France or Ireland.
Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Juan Pablo Socino and Horacio Agulla join the backs, with experienced Juan Martin Hernandez making his first start of this Rugby World Cup at fly-half.
Facundo Isa, Javier Ortega Desio, Matias Alemanno, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Julian Montoya, and Lucas Noguera are amongst the reshuffled faces in the pack.
Hourcade’s rotation means every member of his final 31-man squad has now featured in this World Cup, and this side is the youngest Argentina have selected on the grandest stage since the 1999 installment.
Namibia have made as many changes, with the headline news being that unfortunately their inspirational captain Jacques Burger has been ruled out after suffering a concussion against Georgia. The Saracens man subsequently announced his retirement from international rugby, saying it was an honour each and every time he pulled on the Namibia shirt.
Rohan Kitshoff replaces him as both blindside flanker and captain, to skipper his country for the first time. It is also the first time that Namibia will be led by someone other than Burger in a World Cup match since 2007.
The backs are revamped with Johan Tromp, JC Greyling, Johan Deysel, Conrad Marais, Theuns Kotze and Damian Stevens all coming into the fold.
Leneve Damens, Wian Conradie, Janco Venter, Johannes Coetzee, and Jaco Engels are amongst the rejigged pack.
Players to watch
Bulky back row Facundo Isa will make just his second start at this World Cup, but his third appearance in total having come on as a substitute against Tonga. The 22-year-old’s physicality will be keen against a Namibia side that has proven that they love to rough it out with the best of them. Argentina have reinvigorated their scrum, and a big shove from the pack will be the basis of another big win.
Outside centre JC Greyling started the match against New Zealand but found himself under so much pressure defensively, he did not have much chance to display his attacking qualities. Although Namibia will find themselves under the cosh again against Argentina, he ought to have more opportunities to burst over the gainline, and the 24-year-old will look to add to his three tries in nine caps.
There is very little to play for in this dead rubber match, as second place is already assured for Argentina and Namibia are resigned to going home. This is reflected in the team selections, but an exciting young Pumas side may provide Daniel Hourcade with something to ponder when it comes to selecting a side to defeat either Ireland or France in the next round. Momentum will still be key and the South Americans will want to avoid the embarrassment of losing to the lowest-ranked team in the tournament.
Namibia received a huge blow by losing Burger, but he will act as head cheerleader from the sidelines as his team look to pay him the ultimate tribute by claiming their first ever World Cup win. They came agonizingly close to beating Georgia in the last round, and they made history by claiming their first ever point in the competition despite losing 17-16. The African nation will play with the heart and passion that has become synonymous with this team, but a pressure free Puma side will no doubt blow them away.
Argentina by 40
Argentina: 15. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14. Matias Moroni, 13. Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 12. Juan Pablo Socino, 11. Horacio Agulla, 10. Juan Martin Hernandez, 9. Martin Landajo, 8. Facundo Isa, 7. Javier Ortega Desio, 6. Pablo Matera, 5. Matias Alemanno, 4. Guido Petti, 3. Juan Pablo Orlandi, 2. Julian Montoya, 1. Lucas Noguera
Replacements: 16. Agustin Creevy, 17. Marcos Ayerza, 18. Ramiro Herrera, 19. Leonardo Senatore, 20. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 21. Tomas Cubelli, 22. Marcelo Bosch, 23. Juan Imhoff
Namibia: 15. Chrysander Botha, 14. Johan Tromp, 13. JC Greyling, 12. Johan Deysel, 11. Conrad Marais, 10. Theuns Kotze, 9. Damian Stevens, 8. Leneve Damens, 7. Wian Conradie, 6. Rohan Kitshoff, 5. Tijuee Uanivi, 4. Janco Venter, 3. Johannes Coetzee, 2. Torsten Van Jaarsveld, 1. Jaco Engels
Replacements: 16. Louis van der Westhuizen, 17. Johnny Redelinghuys, 18. AJ De Klerk, 19. PJ Van Lill, 20. Tinus Du Plessis, 21. Russel Van Wyk, 22. Eugene Jantjes, 23. Heinrich Smit
Date: Sunday, October 11
Venue: Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant referees: Jerome Garces, Mike Fraser
Television match official: George Ayoub