Friday, December 8, 2023

The Pumas have 11 changes against Chile in the World Cup: opportunities for everyone

Michael Cheika Observes, During A Pumas Training Session

LA BAULE-ESCOUBLAC (France).– When the match ends at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes, the 33 Argentines in the squad will be effectively part of France 2023. Michael Cheika announced this Thursday the Pumas team that will face Chile, in Saturday at 3 pm -10 am in Argentina-, and includes 11 changes to the starting team. Among them, the inclusion of Tomás Cubelli and Nicolás Sanchez as a media couple stands out.

Rodrigo Isgró and Martín Bogado will enjoy their World Cup debuts, as well as Ignacio Ruiz and Joaquín Oviedo if they come off the bench. Jerónimo de la Fuente, who will wear the captain’s ribbon, Juan Imhoff and Facundo Isa will also be there from the start and will make their presentation at France 2023. In total there will be 15 different players in the 23 compared to the last match against Samoa.

“We made a mix because in the whole group of 33 there is a lot of competition. The training sessions are very competitive, very difficult, but this is not something that we have in our planning,” coach Michael Cheika justified. ” Depending on how we train during the week, it is decided how we play on Saturday. This is the team that deserves the opportunity to play in the World Cup. It is not only about increasing the competition to a better level, but an opportunity to show the your ability. “The team is ready to play a game that is very important for us,” he analyzed.

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Nicolás Sánchez Is Again A Starter, After Coming On Against Samoa
Nicolás Sánchez is a starter again, after his introduction against Samoa – Credits: @Getty Images

The latest thing is the entry of Cubelli and Sánchez as starters, replacing Gonzalo Bertranou and Santiago Carreras, who did not do a good job in the first two games. The Córdoba flyhalf is on the bench alongside Lautaro Bazán Vélez, who returned after fulfilling this role against England. The underlying question, considering the inferiority of the opponent, is whether a good performance will be enough for them to earn a place for the match against Japan, which will determine who will qualify for the quarterfinals head-to- head.

“We had the experience last week of finishing the game with them, it’s something we want to take advantage of, the possibility to finish games close,” Cheika explained. “It’s a good opportunity for Cubelli, who hasn’t played much, to show his ability and for us to get his experience on the field. Sánchez will reach 100 caps, which is important for him. We don’t want to change our system because Cubelli and Sánchez come in, or even if it’s Mallía’s turn to play as flyhalf. We’re looking for consistency in our game with two players. Everyone in the team relies on that. We have to be clear about what we’re playing even if it’s different those kind of players. “It’s good for us to have players with a lot of experience.”

Sánchez is also 16 points away from surpassing Gonzalo Quesada as Puma’s top scorer in World Cup history. And Agustín Creevy will reach 18 World Cup appearances, matching Mario Ledesma’s mark.

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Imhoff Will Start For The First Time In The World Cup
Imhoff will start for the first time in the World Cup

Another change is the entry of Facundo Isa as number 8, removing Juan Martín González as a winger. The man from Mendoza, one of the big revelations of the Pumas in the whole Cheika cycle, did not have good games in Marseille and Saint-Étienne. The man from Santiago, who will play again in a World Cup after not being called up for the event in Japan 2019, the same situation that Imhoff went through, alternated between the two positions at his club Toulon. “I like to play as an 8 more than a wing, I always say that. More than that the function changes all the time. Before the 8 stays and receives the ball, now it doesn’t. Now between wing and 8 hasn’t changed much, it’s almost the same role,” said Isa to herself.

The only ones who repeated the initial formation regarding the duel against Samoa were Eduardo Bello, Guido Petti Pagadizábal, Juan Martín González and Marcos Kremer. Francisco Gómez Kodela and Mayco Vivas remain as substitutes. Agustín Creevy, Pedro Rubiolo, Cubelli, Sánchez and Rodrigo Cinti will go from the bench to the starting XV, while Santiago Carreras and Juan Cruz Mallía go the opposite way. Recovering from an injury, Joel Sclavi appeared again, as left prop.

After the loss against England, the Pumas thought to go out and play all the games as if they were in the final. Without a good game, they achieved their goal against Samoa. Chile represents a minor requirement, which should not create difficulties. This will serve to continue to fill the reservoir of confidence before the game in Japan and, without a doubt, make some conclusions in important positions such as the 8-9-10 axis, although due to the caliber of the opponent it will not be they can be judgmental.

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One of the characteristics of this Pumas team, unlike other world championships, is that it has a competitive and talented team. It’s time to show it on the field.

The Moment Of The Argentine Anthem, Before The Match Against Samoa.  About 15 Thousand Argentines Are Expected In Nantes On Saturday
The moment of the Argentine anthem, before the match against Samoa. About 15 thousand Argentines are expected in Nantes on Saturday – Credits: @Prensa UAR

The formations

  • Argentina: Martín Bogado; Rodrigo Isgró, Lucio Cinti, Jerónimo de la Fuente (c) and Juan Imhoff; Nicolás Sánchez and Tomás Cubelli; Marcos Kremer, Facundo Isa and Juan Martín González; Guido Petti Pagadizábal and Pedro Rubiolo; Eduardo Bello, Agustín Creevy and Joel Sclavi.
  • Coach: Michael Cheika.
  • Substitutes: Ignacio Ruiz, Mayco Vivas, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Matthias Germanno, Joaquin Oviedo, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Santiago Carreras and Juan Cruz Mallia.
  • Chile: Iñaki Ayarza; Santiago Videla, Domingo Saavedra, Matias Garafulic and Jose Ignacio Larenas; Rodrigo Fernandez and Marcelo Torrealba; Clemente Saavedra, Raimundo Martinez and Martin Sigren (c); Javier Eissmann and James Stone; Matthias Dittus, August Bohme and Javier Carrasco.
  • Substitutes: Tomás Dussaillant, Salvador Lues, Esteban Inostroza, Augusto Sarmiento, Alfonso Escobar, Ignacio Silva, Nicolás Herreros and Francisco Urroz.
  • Start: 3 pm local time (10 pm in Argentina)
  • TV: ESPN and Public TV
  • Field: Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes
  • Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
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