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Hernandez returns for Pumas’ Championship debut

August 15, 2012

Argentina flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez will make his first Test appearance in three years in the Rugby Championship match against South Africa on Saturday.

The 30-year-old has suffered a string of injuries since helping his country finish third at the 2007 World Cup. His last test was against England in June 2009.

The team will be captained by No 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, who takes over from Felipe Contepomi, after the centre made himself unavailable for this tournament.

“The Springboks are a very powerful side and we’ll need to have control of the ball in order to have a good game,” said coach Santiago Phelan.

“We are aware of the Springboks’ strengths. We need to be patient and find the moment in the game to strike.

“We have to find the spaces in order to generate momentum. It’ll be about space, as they are physically very strong when you attack them one on one.”

Wing Gonzalo Camacho said Argentina’s inclusion in the Southern Hemisphere’s premier rugby competition for the first time, alongside South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, was an important step for rugby in his country.

“We’ve been feeling the pressure heading into a huge game, the Test will be huge,” said Camacho. “It’s historic, because SA is a world power, an elite side.

“We have to prove ourselves, without losing the essence of our game.”

The starting team at Newlands in Cape Town includes 14 players who play in Europe, with only flanker Julio Farias Cabello playing in Argentina. Twelve of the team took part in last year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

Argentina: Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Santiago Fernandez, Horacio Agulla, Juan Martin Hernandez, Nicolas Vergallo, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), Alvaro Galindo, Julio Farias Cabello, Patricio Albacete, Manuel Carizza, Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Rodrigo Roncero.

Replacements: Bruno Postiglioni, Marcos Ayerza, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Thomas Leonardi, Leonardo Senatore, Martin Landajo, Martin Rodriguez

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