Hernández centre of attention

Juan Martín Hernández will start at inside centre for the Pumas' opening Rugby Championship match against the Springboks at Loftus on Saturday.

Hernández, who started at fullback in last year's 73-13 rout at the FNB Stadium, will be tasked with stopping Springbok captain Jean de Villiers and his array of attacking backs. His inclusion in the midfield is likely to give the Pumas an added kicking option, hinting at a more tactical approach from the South Americans.

His combination with Nicolás Sánchez in the 10-12 axis is an exciting prospect for the Pumas, and one that is worth keeping an eye on during the Rugby Championship.

It will be a baptism of fire for Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade, who took over the reigns following the Rugby Championship last season. His selection has no glaring omissions, with the exception of Montpellier utility back Lucas González Amorosino. The 33-cap veteran has been relegated to the bench in favour of Joaquín Tuculet, who impressed during the June Tests against Ireland and Scotland.

In the forwards, Juan Manuel Leguizamon and Juan Fernández Lobbe will lend some experience to the loose trio, with over 100 Test caps between them.

Agustín Creevy will lead the side for the first time since being appointed captain, as the Pumas look to pick up their first Rugby Championship win at their 13th time of asking.

Argentina – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7 Juan Fernández Lobbe, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Subs: 16 Matías Corteze, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Lucas González Amorosino.

Rugby Championship teams (Round 1)

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images