Contepomi withdraws from Argentina team to face Ireland

Flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe will lead Argentina against Ireland in their rugby test this weekend after captain Felipe Contepomi withdrew when a cut right hand became infected.

The forced absence of Contepomi, also the team’s leading goalkicker, was a blow to the Pumas’ hopes of trying to win for the first time in Dublin, and holding on to its No. 4 world ranking for 2011 World Cup seedings.

“Felipe is a great player, very important for the team and the key will be trying to play well so his absence is not felt so much,” said hooker Mario Ledesma.

“I am glad that Juan was named captain. We will all back him and I hope we can play well enough to win and dedicate the victory to Felipe.”

While Argentina made four changes on Thursday to the team which beat Italy 22-14 last weekend, Ireland changed three and left open a spot for flanker Alan Quinlan, whose appeal of a three-week suspension will be heard on Friday.

Following a dismal effort in the 22-3 loss to New Zealand last weekend, Jerry Flannery replaced hooker Rory Best, Geordan Murphy reclaimed the fullback jersey from Girvan Dempsey and Stephen Ferris was back in for Quinlan. Malcolm O’Kelly, Ireland’s most capped player with 91 tests, was brought into the reserves.

However, Quinlan, who was banned for stamping on All Blacks No. 8 Rodney So’oialo, could make the reserves if his appeal is successful.

Murphy, whose 58th and last cap was in the Six Nations, will be Ireland’s third starting fullback in three tests this month.

“Fullback is just one of several areas that’s highly competitive at the moment,” Ireland coach Declan Kennedy said on Thursday.

“(Murphy’s) a good reader of the game, a good team person, a good pro.”

Argentina brought in No. 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, center Miguel Avramovic, winger Francisco Leonelli and fullback Horacio Agulla, who played on the wing in the tour opener against France.

Federico Martin Aramburu was moved in off the wing to midfield, Rimas Alvarez Kairelis also shifted in from flanker to lock, and Fernandez Lobbe slid to the side of the scrum from No. 8 for the game at Croke Park.

“We must be very focused on our job if we want to secure a good result,” Fernandez Lobbe said. “We want to win, that’s our main goal. I hope we can achieve it.”



Geordan Murphy, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll (captain), Luke Fitzgerald, Robert Kearney, Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Stephen Ferris, David Wallace, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Rory Best, Tony Buckley, Malcolm O’Kelly, Eoin Reddan, Paddy Wallace, Keith Earls, one to be added.


Horacio Agulla, Francisco Leonelli, Federico Martin Aramburu, Miguel Avramovic, Rafael Carballo, Juan Martin Hernandez, Nicolas Vergallo; Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Rimas Alvarez Kairelis, Patricio Albacete, Martin Durand, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), Juan Manuel Leguizamon.

Replacements: Alberto Vernet Basualdo, Marcos Ayerza, Esteban Lozada, Alvaro Galindo, Agustin Figuerola, Santiago Fernandez, Bernardo Stortoni.

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