Argentina v France: Teams
At Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes, Saturday June 16, kick-off 10.10pm
Last Updated: 15/06/12 12:55pm
A new-look France team will take on a confident but inexperienced Argentina outfit in the first of two Tests in Cordoba on Saturday.
Facing the Pumas on their own turf is one of the tougher assignments in world rugby and Les Bleus have not won on Argentinean soil since 1998. In fact, France have beaten Argentina just three times in their last ten encounters.
Just how much should be read into this weekend's result is a matter of debate, however, since the neither team will be lining up their strongest side. But what is sure is that a French defeat will be considered a significant setback.
Argentina's win over Italy last week not withstanding, the French will fancy their chances of claiming the spoils as they arrive with many of the players that will - hopefully - form the core of their team over the next four years.
The likes of Thierry Dusautoir, Imanol Harinordoquy and Nicolas Mas have been left at home for their first break in about two years while a number of fresh faces have been given a chance as head coach Philippe Saint-André begins the process of rebuilding what was an ageing side.
But of the nine uncapped players in the French touring squad, just two have been handed starting berths, meaning France have nearly double the amount of Test caps (274 caps) than their South American opponents.
Argentina are testing the depth of their resources while keeping some of their powder dry for their dates with the southern hemisphere heavyweights later in the year.
Santiago Phelan had one of the oldest squads at the last World Cup and this June series is being used to blood the next generation of Pumas. The hosts field a team with just 156 caps in total, but nearly half of those come from a one man, Felipe Contepomi. The remaining players average less than six caps per man.
Contepomi notched 22 points in last weekend's win over Italy to become Argentina's all-time record points scorer and the Stade Français pivot will be tasked with bringing fluidity to their attack.
Argentina: 15 Roman Miralles, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Joaquin Tuculet, 12 Felipe Contepomi (c), 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Tomas Leonardi, 7 Tomas De la Vega, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Esteban Lozada, 4 Benjamin Macome, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Bruno Postiglioni, 1 Eusebio Guinazu
Replacements: 16 Andres Bordoy, 17 Pablo Henn, 18 Rodrigo Bruno, 19 Rodrigo Baez, 20 Tomas Cubelli, 21 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 22 Facundo Barrea
France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Jean Marcellin Buttin, 13 Wesley Fofana, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Yoann Huget , 10 Francois Trinh Duc, 9 Morgan Parra , 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoan Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape (c), 3 David Attoub, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Yvan Watremez
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Romain Taofifenua, 19 Alexandre Lapandry, 20 Maxime Machenaud, 21 Frederic Michalak, 22 Maxime Mermoz