Argentina pick new midfield in five changes to face Italy

The Pumas will be without first-choice centres Marcelo Bosch and Santiago Fernandez and lock Patricio Albacete due to an agreement between their European clubs and Argentina.

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The players have been with the Pumas since August taking part in the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship, missing the early part of the European season with their clubs.

Coach Daniel Hourcade has moved left wing Horacio Agulla into Bosch’s outside centre position in the team he named on Thursday, the Argentine union UAR said in a statement.

Hourcade has brought Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino back into the side on the right wing while Gabriel Azcarate takes the inside centre berth left vacant by Fernandez to make up an untested midfield partnership with Agulla.

Juan Imhoff, injured in Argentina’s 31-12 defeat by England two weeks ago, returns to the left wing with Santiago Cordero, who made his first Pumas start against the Welsh, stepping back down to the bench.

Bosch has returned to Saracens and Fernandez to Bayonne in France, while in the forwards, lock Mariano Galarza comes in for Albacate, who has gone back to Toulouse.

In the back row, Benjamin Macome comes in at number eight with Pablo Matera dropping down to the bench and captain Juan Manuel Leguizamon moving to blindside flanker.

Team: 15-Joaquin Tuculet, 14-Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 13-Horacio Agulla, 12-Gabriel Azcarate, 11-Juan Imhoff, 10-Nicolas Sanchez, 9-Martin Landajo; 8-Benjamin Macome, 7-Julio Farias Cabello, 6-Juan Manuel Leguizamon (captain), 5-Mariano Galarza, 4-Manuel Carizza, 3-Maximiliano Bustos, 2-Eusebio Guinazu, 1-Marcos Ayerza

Replacements: 16-Santiago Iglesias, 17-Nahuel Lobo, 18-Matias Diaz, 19-Tomas Lavanini, 20-Pablo Matera, 21-Tomas Cubelli, 22-Javier Rojas, 23-Santiago Cordero

(Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires; editing by Justin Palmer)

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