Argentina keen to maintain ranking on tour of Japan, Britain
Argentina will be looking to maintain their place in the world's top eight when they play four tests on next month's tour of Japan and Britain, coach Daniel Hourcade said on Wednesday.
The fifth-ranked Pumas, who have just finished the four-nation southern hemisphere Rugby Championship with the wooden spoon after one win in six matches, play 2019 World Cup hosts Japan in Tokyo on Nov. 5.
Hourcade named a 31-man squad for the tour though five players, including veteran back Juan Martin Hernandez and flanker Pablo Matera among them, will only link up with the touring party when they arrive in Britain.
"The matter of ranking is there and interests us," said Hourcade, keen to ensure his side are among the top eight seeds when the 2019 World Cup draw is made in May.
"But we won't change our strategy for one match. If we can impose our game the results will follow and that will allow us to improve our ranking," he was quoted as saying on the Argentine Rugby Union website (www.aur.com.ar).
Flanker Tomas Lezana has been recalled after being overlooked for the Rugby Championship while lock Tomas Lavanini and prop Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro miss out through injury and utility back Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino has been dropped.
"We have a lot of respect for Japan, they have shown a good standard of play, not just at the (2015) World Cup," Hourcade added. "In no way is this a preparation test, it's a very important match and hard for us, like the other three.
"The northern hemisphere sides will make similar demands of us to the Rugby Championship, but with a different style.
"We must impose our game, being efficient in the breakdown without committing too many people. We already experienced that with France in June, the team that imposed their game took the match."
Argentina drew a home test series 1-1 with France in June, winning the first 30-19 and losing the second 27-0.
Forwards: Agustin Creevy (captain), Julian Montoya, Facundo Bosch, Santiago Garcia Botta, Lucas Noguera Paz, Ramiro Herrera, Enrique Pieretto, Facundo Gigena, Matias Alemanno, Guido Petti, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera, Javier Ortega Desio, Tomas Lezana, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Facundo Isa, Leonardo Senatore
Backs: Tomas Cubelli, Martin Landajo, Felipe Ezcurra, Nicolas Sanchez, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Juan Martin Hernandez, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Matias Moroni, Gabriel Azcarate, Matias Orlando, Manuel Montero, Ramiro Moyano, Santiago Cordero, Joaquin Tuculet