The Rugby Championship Round Five Preview – Pumas vs All Blacks

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The All Blacks top the The Rugby Championship after four rounds. Photo by Getty Images.

Argentina versus New Zealand at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata

The Rugby Championship’s new addition in the Pumas will host the World Champion All Blacks in back-to-back matches in South America, with the beautiful Estadio Ciudad de La Plata hosting a rugby test match for the first time.

The Pumas are confident, and while the main talk throughout The Rugby Championship has been consistent improvement, the reality is that the Argentineans have shown that they can match it with the original Tri-Nations teams – coming agonisingly close to a maiden win over the Springboks in Mendoza and a second victory on Australian soil since the first in 1983.

Still on current standings and form their toughest visitor has already touched down in the country, with the All Blacks once again taken back with the flamboyant culture of Buenos Aires, with the capital of Argentina approximately 50-60km North of La Plata. A victory this weekend will guarantee the All Blacks the inaugural trophy of The Rugby Championship, unbeaten in four tests so far, although the perfection seeking New Zealanders are hardly happy, wanting to turn their pace driven game into try scoring sprees.

Yet Argentina are perhaps the best equipped of all the sides in The Rugby Championship to slow the All Blacks attack down, with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen remarking not only did they have an excellent defensive system, but were a little too proficient in slowing down his team’s ball.

Up front is where the Pumas traditional power lurks, but it has been the displays of the likes of wing Gonzalo Camacho, scrumhalf Martin Landajo and the recently returned Juan Martin Hernandez that have made a mockery of those calling Argentina a one trick rugby pony.

Still, while often it is the All Blacks backs that get the credit for their attacking finishing, it has been their pack that has grafted the bulk of their victories, with captain Richie McCaw a colossus in his recent outings, while young locks in the form of Brodie Retallick and Luke Romano have the World Champions integrating new faces into their established core.

La Plata, the second test venue in action for Argentina for the Pumas, was sold out for this test within days of tickets being on sale, and 53,000 will be expected to give the All Blacks a much louder welcome than they’d usually receive in other stadiums.

First opened in 2003, roofing was finished in 2011, ensuring every seat in the Estadio Único is under cover in the magnificent stadium known as ‘The City of Diagonals’.

Despite the recent presence of France and matches in the 2005 Under-19 Junior Rugby Championship, this will be the first full international recognised by the International Rugby Board, while the city has a strong rugby backbone with six local rugby clubs playing in the popular Buenos Aires rugby competition.

Continuing with their theme of being the most stable team in The Rugby Championship, the Pumas have made no changes to their starting XV, as they return home for the second time where they achieved their best result so far in the Championship, drawing 16-16 with the Springboks in Mendoza.

On the bench prop Juan Pablo Orlandi is replaced by Marcos Ayerza and loose forward Tomas Vallejos comes in for Leonardo Senatore in the only changes to the squad.

For the All Blacks the return of Dan Carter and Aaron Smith to the starting XV sees Aaron Cruden and Piri Weepu drop to the bench, while on the pine Sam Cane replaces Victor Vito and Ben Smith is named ahead of Tamati Ellison.


29 September 2012
Argentina v All Blacks
Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata
Kick off (2010 local, 2310 GMT, Sun 30 Sep 1210 NZT, Sun 30 Sep 0910 NSW/ACT, Sun 30 Sep 1:10
Referee: J. Peyper (SARU)
AR: C. Joubert (SARU)
AR: P. Gauzere (FFR)
TMO: F.Pastrana (UAR)


(Please note these are test records only. There were four non-capped internationals before the 1985 test match between the two countries)

Played 15: New Zealand 14, Argentina 0, Drawn 1
Last match: Argentina 5 – 21 New Zealand @ Westpac Stadium, Wellington (September 8, 2012)

Argentina (test) record at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata: DEBUT MATCH
Argentina record at home (in IRB recognised tests): Played 108, Won 51, Lost 51, Drawn 6

New Zealand (test) record in Argentina: Played 6, Won 5, Drawn 1
New Zealand record away from home: Played 249, Won 172, Lost 66, Drawn 11

Point’s aggregate: Argentina 195, New Zealand 639, (13-43 aggregate)
Tries aggregate: Argentina 17, New Zealand 84 (1-6 aggregate)


15 September, 2012: New Zealand 21 – 11 South Africa (4th round of The Rugby Championship)
8 September, 2012: New Zealand 21 – 5 Argentina (3rd round of The Rugby Championship)
25 August, 2012: New Zealand 22 – 0 Australia (2nd round of The Rugby Championship)
18 August, 2012: New Zealand 27 – 19 Australia (1st round of The Rugby Championship)
23 June, 2012: New Zealand 60 – 0 Ireland (3rd test June tour)
16 June, 2012: New Zealand 22 – 19 Ireland (2nd test June tour)
9 June, 2012: New Zealand 42 – 10 Ireland (1st test June tour)

15 September, 2012: Argentina 19 – 23 Australia (4th round of The Rugby Championship)
8 September, 2012: Argentina 5 – 21 New Zealand (3rd round of The Rugby Championship)
25 August, 2012: Argentina 16 – 16 South Africa (2nd round of The Rugby Championship
18 August, 2012: Argentina 6 – 27 South Africa (1st round of The Rugby Championship)
11 August, 2012: Argentina 31 – 17 Stade Francais (friendly)
4 August, 2012: Argentina 21 – 25 Stade Francais (friendly)
23 June, 2012: Argentina 10 – 49 France (3rd test June tour)


Argentina team to play New Zealand
(Lineup courtesy of

1-Rodrigo Roncero (53 partidos/games – 30 puntos/points)
2-Eusebio Guiñazú (22 partidos – 5 puntos)
3-Juan Figallo (13 partidos – 5 puntos)
4-Manuel Carizza (27 partidos – 5 puntos)
5-Patricio Albacete (50 partidos – 5 puntos)
6-Julio Farías Cabello (14 partidos – 10 puntos)
7-Juan Manuel Leguizamón (41 partidos – 35 puntos)
8-Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (capitán) (47 partidos – 20 puntos)
9-Martín Landajo (12 partidos)
10-Juan Martín Hernández (35 partidos – 98 puntos)
11-Horacio Agulla (38 partidos – 20 puntos)
12-Santiago Fernández (22 partidos – 13 puntos)
13-Marcelo Bosch (14 partidos – 11 puntos)
14-Gonzalo Camacho (15 partidos – 20 puntos)
15-Lucas González Amorosino (18 partidos – 20 puntos)

16-Agustín Creevy (17 partidos)
17-Marcos Ayerza (36 partidos – 5 puntos)
18-Tomás Vallejos (1 partido)
19-Tomás Leonardi (11 partidos – 10 puntos)
20-Nicolás Vergallo (28 partidos)
21- Martín Rodríguez (18 partidos – 72 puntos)
22-Juan Imhoff (9 partidos – 45 puntos)

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith.

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