Rugby Championship 2018: Argentina Preview

Mario Ledesma will be looking to get his tenure at the helm of Los Pumas off to a fast start when the Rugby Championship gets underway on the 18th of August.

It's a new dawn for Argentina's rugby as Los Pumas great, Mario Ledesma, will mark his debut as national coach at this year's Rugby Championship. The new Los Pumas mentor will be looking to guide his side to a much-improved showing from last season's debacle that saw the Argentine's lose all six of their games.

Saturday 18 August
South Africa v Argentina
Jonsson Kings Park

Saturday 25 August
Argentina v South Africa
Estadio Malvinas

Saturday 8 September
New Zealand v Argentina
Trafalgar Park

Saturday 15 September
Australia v Argentina
cBus Super Stadium

Sunday 30 September
Argentina v New Zealand
Estadio Jose Amalfitani

Sunday 7 October
Argentina v Australia
Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena

Best Starting XV

15. Emiliano Boffelli 14. Bautista Delguy 13. Matias Orlando 12. Jeronimo de le Fuente 11. Matias Moroni 10. Nicolas Sanzhez 9. Martín Landajo 8. Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomas Lezana 6. Tomas Lezana 5. Marcos Kremer 4. Guido Petti 3. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro 2. Agustín Creevy 1. Santiago Garcia Botta

Forward to Watch - Marcos Kremer
The 21-year-old was insanely consistent during this season's Super Rugby tournament delivering performance after performance, which is quite something considering how physical he is. Capable of playing in the back row as well as in the second row, the big man will be a key cog in the Argentine pack.

Back to Watch - Emiliano Boffelli
The fullback enjoyed a mightily impressive Super Rugby campaign with the Jaguares which saw him run in 10 tries. He's an impressive counter-attacker who would much rather run the ball back at the opposition than kick it away. That's not to say he doesn't have an educated boot. Far from it, in fact with the Argentine utility back able to clinically clear his lines when necessary.

The Argentine's have a kind enough start facing the Springboks in the opening two weeks. They will need to at least claim a few bonus points from those two fixtures if they are to avoid finishing at the foot of the log again. They will also need to produce the goods against the Australian's in Argentina as they are unlikely to garner any points from their clashes with an All Blacks side who have enjoyed complete dominance over them in recent years.

In truth, 2018 is all about rebuilding the Argentine brand while building towards next year's 2019 Rugby World Cup. As such, the new coach may well rotate from game to game in a bid to find some fresh talent and new combinations. Don't be too surprised if Ledesma includes a few Argentine Under 20's in his squad for this year's tournament.

Verdict: Fourth
While I can see the Argentines grabbing a win this year (probably against the Aussies in Argentina) I fear they will once again end up at the foot of the table.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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