Argentina rest stars against Namibia

Argentina overhauled its line-up in for their clash with Namibia on Sunday having already qualified for the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.

After New Zealand beat Tonga in Newcastle on Friday in Pool C, the Pumas qualified for the last eight for a third successive World Cup.

The Pumas are also heavily favoured against the Namibians, who are still seeking their first win at their fifth Rugby World Cup.

“We are still striving for that win, and because we are a team of strong character we won’t look at where they are and where we are in the rankings,” Namibia captain Rohan Kitshoff said Friday.

“It’s the 80 minutes on the field that counts.”

Namibia earned its first ever World Cup point in a 17-16 loss to Georgia on Wednesday in Exeter, and coach Phil Davies said he hopes his team can show the same doggedness.

“If we go out with that guts, character, determination, anything can happen in a game of rugby,” Davies said.

Argentina and Namibia both made 11 changes to their starting line-ups.

From the starting XV in the 45-16 win over Tonga last Sunday in Leicester, the Pumas retained only lock Guido Petti, flanker Pablo Matera, scrumhalf Martin Landajo, who will be captain, and winger Matias Moroni.

Two backs, flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez and winger Horacio Agulla, share 115 caps, almost one-third of the 349 total.

It is the youngest and most inexperienced Pumas line-up at a Rugby World Cup in 16 years, and the start for centre Juan Pablo Socino ensures every Puma in the squad will have played at least once in the pool stage.

Namibia, affected by a four-day turnaround, has given successive starts to only hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld, lock Tjiuee Uanivi, flyhalf Theuns Kotze, and fullback Chrysander Botha.

Uanivi and Kotze have played all 240 minutes of Namibia’s campaign so far.

Flanker Jacques Burger retired after he was concussed against Georgia, and the captaincy was passed to Kitshoff, who was usually the skipper between World Cups.

Argentina: Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Matias Moroni, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Juan Pablo Socino, Horacio Agulla, Juan Martin Hernandez, Martin Landajo (captain); Facunda Isa, Javier Ortega Desio, Pablo Matera, Matias Alemanno, Guido Petti, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Julian Montoya, Lucas Noguera. Reseres: Agustin Creevy, Marcos Ayerza, Ramiro Herrera, Leonardo Senatore, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Tomas Cubelli, Marcelo Bosch, Juan Imhoff.

Namibia: Chrysander Botha, Johan Tromp, JC Greyling, Johan Deysel, Conrad Marais, Theuns Kotze, Eneill Buitendag; Leneve Damens, Wian Conradie, Rohan Kitshoff (captain), Tijuee Uanivi, Janco Venter, Johan Coetzee, Torsten Van Jaarsveld, Jaco Engels. Reserves: Louis van der Westhuizen, Johnny Redelinghuys, Raoul Larson, Renaldo Bothma, Tinus Du Plessis, PJ Van Lill, Eugene Jantjes, Heinrich Smit.

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