POOL B – ARGENTINA vs GEORGIA
Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North, Sunday 2nd Oct 1pm (NZT)
Head-to-head: Played 1, Argentina 1, Georgia 0
Last meeting: Argentina 33 beat Georgia 3 in Lyon (Pool stage 2007)
Last meeting at a World Cup: Argentina 33 beat Georgia 3 in Lyon (Pool stage 2007)
Team news: Like most of the teams at this World Cup, Argentina have been hit with injuries to key players. The most recent was the loss of star forward Juan martin Fernandez Lobbe to a knee injury that put him out of the tournament. The good news is that pivotal play-maker Felipe Contepomi is back to to full fitness after he got through 70 minutes against the Scots. Argentina have stuck to their top players, a loss here sending them home. Georgia have made some changes to the tight five but have most importantly relegated regular first five Merab Kvirikashvili to the bench. Other tweaks to the side see Mamuka Gorgodze move to the back of the scrum.
Form: Argentina were on the verge of going home against Scotland last Sunday, but a last ditch try kept their hopes alive. The Pumas have not got it right this World Cup, but that can be said for most of the top teams. Georgia struggled to put the Romanians away in the same stadium on Wednesday, the scrum was under pressure for most of the match and the kicking out of hand saw the Lelos give away field position. Better kicking from the tee in this match is essential if the Lelos want to compete with the Pumas.
Prediction: Argentina have more experience in top level rugby and the backs to capitalise on fast ball, something that Georgia has been struggling with this World Cup. A win for the Pumas will send them into the Knockout stages, something that should give them enough motivation to put a decent score on the Lelos.
Argentina by 35
Argentina: 1. Marcos Ayerza, 2. Mario Ledesma Arocena, 3. Juan Figallo, 4. Mariano Galarza, 5. Patricio Albacete, 6. Julio Farias Cabello, 7. Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 8. Leonardo Senatore, 9. Nicolas Vergallo, 10. Santiago Fernandez, 11. Juan Jose Imhoff, 12. Felipe Contservest), 13. Marcelo Bosch, 14. Horacio Agulla, 15. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
Replacements: 16. Agustin Creevy, 17. Martin Scelzo, 18. Tomas Vallejos, 19. Alejandro Campos, 20. Alfredo Lalanne, 21. Augustin Gosio, 22. Martin Rodriguez.
Georgia: 1. Vasil Kakovin, 2. Akvsenti Giorgadze, 3. David Zirakashvili, 4. Levan Datunashvili, 5. Vakhtang Maisuradze, 6. Giorgi Chkhaidze, 7. Viktor Kolelishvili, 8. Mamuka Gorgodze, 9. Irakli Abuseridze (capt), 10. Lasha Khmaladze, 11. Alexander Todua, 12. Tedo Zibzibadze, 13. David Kacharava, 14. Lekso Gugava, 15. Malkhaz Urjukashvili.
Replacements: 16. Jaba Bregvadze, 17. Goderdzi Shvelidze, 18. Giorgi Nemsadze, 19. Ilia Zedginidze, 20. Bidzina Samkharadze, 21. Merab Kvirikashvili, 22. Lasha Malaguradze.
By Alex Barlow-Smith