Jaguares dominate Pumas team to face All Blacks

Familiarity won't be a problem for Argentina in their Rugby Championship opener against the All Blacks after coach Mario Ledesma named a team comprised almost entirely of Jaguares players.

Thirteen members of the starting XV for the Test in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning started for the Jaguares in the final of the Super Rugby two weeks earlier. The reserves bench is comprised entirely of Jaguares.

Ledesma is banking on the same chemistry at international level after the Jaguares exceeded all expectations by making a maiden final appearance, losing to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The only changes to a team captained by world-class flanker Pablo Matera are the introduction of two experienced European-based stars.

Stade Francais playmaker Nicolas Sanchez will start at five-eighth while Saracens prop Juan Figallo is on the tighthead side.

The two affected Jaguares players, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla and Santiago Medrano, are both on the bench.

All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith this week sounded a warning to the hosts that they can't expected Super Rugby form to translate onto success on the Test stage.

"Their results in Super Rugby would say they are going to have a really good opportunity. But I believe Test matches are different," Smith emphasised.

"They are going to have a different team, as well, a few new players coming in. And we are going to have our strongest team out there as well.

"It's called a Test match for a reason. So, yeah, take what you will from that."

Ledesma has resisted any urge to reinstate powerhouse No.8 Facundo Isa, who has returned to the Pumas squad after having played his last Test in 2016 before heading to French club Toulon.


Emiliano Boffelli, Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano, Nicolas Sanchez, Tomas Cubelli, Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera (capt), Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Juan Figallo, Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Res: Julian Montoya, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lezana, Felipe Ezcurra, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Joaquin Tuculet.