Hourcade confident Argentina can perform
August 3, 2014
Agustin Creevy will captain Argentina in this year's Rugby Championship © Getty Images
Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade is confident his team can have an impact when they kick off their Rugby Championship campaign against South Africa in a fortnight.
Hourcade has named a 26-man squad for the first Test in Pretoria, with Agustin Creevy skippering the side for the clash on August 16.
Despite losing all six matches in last year's tournament, Hourcade believes a squad brimming with experience - it includes former captains Juan Fernandez Lobbe and Juan Manuel Leguizamon - will put up a fight against the Springboks.
"Playing against South Africa as visitors will be tough, but the key will be to not let them be comfortable, tackle low and not let them play ... I have a lot of confidence in the team," Hourcade said. "I'm aiming for the team to play the best possible rugby to keep growing as a team ahead of the World Cup next year. We'll always go out to win."
South Africa were handed a boost yesterday with news that captain Jean de Villiers has recovered sufficiently from a knee injury to take his place in the Springbok's squad for the Championship. De Villiers missed the June Tests against Wales and Scotland but now joins five other Springboks in returning to Heyneke Meyer's team.
New Zealand and Australia have already confirmed their squads for the quadrangular tournament, but the All Blacks today issued a statement to say the injury Dan Carter picked up in the Super Rugby final is not as serious as was feared.
Carter picked up a knock to his thigh as his Crusaders side narrowly lost to the Waratahs 33-32 in Sydney. The fly-half however, attempted to run it off and is expected to take his place in the All Black squad for their opener against Australia.
Australia are also counting the cost of the Super Rugby final, with Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau set to miss the Wallabies' opener with a knee injury. Polota-Nau limped off just after half-time with what is suspected to be a medial ligament tear.
Full squads for the Rugby Championship
Forwards: Juan Fernandez Lobbe, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Pablo Matera, Leonardo Senatore, Rodrigo Baez, Tomas Lavanini, Mariano Galarza, Matias Alemanno, Marcos Ayerza, Ramiro Herrera, Lucas Noguera Paz, Bruno Postiglioni, Nuhuel Tetaz Chaparro, Matias Cortese, Agustin Creevy (c)
Backs: Joaquin Tuculet, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Manuel Montero, Horacio Agulla, Juan Imhoff, Marcelo Bosch, Nicolas Sanchez, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Juan Martin Hernandez, Martin Landajo, Tomas Cubelli
Forwards: Ben Alexander, Pek Cowan, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Nathan Charles, James Hanson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sam Carter, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Scott Fardy, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Michael Hooper (c), Ben McCalman, Wycliff Palu,
Backs: Luke Burgess, Nick Phipps, Nic White, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali'ifano, Matt Toomua, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Henry Speight, Israel Folau, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Joe Tomane
Forwards: Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu; Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock/Joe Moody; Dominic Bird, Brodie Retallick, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock; Richie McCaw (c), Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Liam Messam, Kieran Read.
Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara; Beauden Barrett, Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden; Malakai Fekitoa, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith; Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julia Savea, Ben Smith.
Forwards: Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lodewyk de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen
Backs: Damian De Allende, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn
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