Pumas skipper in injury doubt for RWC semi

Argentina captain Agustin Creevy is set to undergo tests on his injured leg ahead of the Rugby World Cup semi-final against Australia on Sunday, when his experience and technique in the scrum could be crucial for the Pumas’ chances of reaching the final for the first time.

“We’re very hopeful that Agus will be able to start,” back-up hooker Julian Montoya said Monday, without elaborating on Creevy’s injury. “He’s the captain, he’s an excellent player, an excellent person, so he’s very influential.”

The 21-year-old Montoya has 14 Test caps and has come off the bench four times during the World Cup, including the last 25 minutes of the 43-20 quarter-final win over Ireland on Sunday. He started the group match against Namibia.

The scrum will be a key focal point of the semi-final, with the Australian pack making big gains in the set-piece under the tutelage of former Pumas hooker Mario Ledesma, who played in four World Cups including Argentina’s run to the 2007 semi-finals.

The Australian scrum, heavily criticised in losses in Britain last November, got the better of the English and Welsh packs in the group stage, but struggled at times against Scotland and conceded some important penalties in their quarter-final win.

While much has been made of Argentina’s new, expansive approach to the game, the scrum is still the pride of the Pumas. At the same time, the traditionally free-running Wallabies are gaining some respect for their scrum.

“We still haven’t studied it in-depth, but we know them and that their scrum will be extremely tough because they’ve come a long way there,” Montoya said. “Australia wasn’t really a scrummaging team and now they’re very good at it.

“It will be very close, and for us it’s great if they scrummage a lot because it’ll tire them. I don’t know Ledesma, but I know he’s been very instrumental in improving their scrum.”

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