Argentina coach Marcelo Loffreda has unveiled his 30-man squad for Rugby World Cup 2007 with scrum half Agustín Pichot named as captain for what will be his fourth tournament.

Loffreda, who has coached the Pumas for the last seven years but will step down after the World Cup, has named an experienced squad featuring nine players for whom 2007 will be their third tournament, including twins Felipe and Manuel Contepomi among the backs.

The experience does not stop there, though, with six other players looking forward to their second Rugby World Cup, having played in Australia four years ago when a 16-15 defeat to Ireland ended Argentina’s hopes of a second successive quarterfinal appearance.

Argentina have a chance to avenge that heartbreaking defeat in Adelaide when the sides meet again in the Pool D finale at the Parc des Princes in Paris on 30 September, a match that will determine who progresses to the knockout stages in France.

The majority of Loffreda’s squad play their rugby in Europe, half of them in the Top 14 Championship in France with many involved in the final when try scorer Pichot and kicker Juan Martín Hernández helped Stade Français beat Clermont Auvergne in June.
However the RWC 2007 draw has not been kind on the Pumas with their placing in Pool D – the archetypal “group of death” given it contains two other sides in the top six of the IRB World Rankings in Ireland and France, along with Georgia and Namibia.

The Pumas have the honour of playing in the opening match for the third Rugby World Cup in succession – they lost to Wales in 1999 and Australia in 2003 – when they face host nation France at the Stade de France in Paris on Friday 7 September.

Argentina spent two weeks in a training camp in Florida last month and continue their preparations with a Test against Chile on Saturday at the Club Atletico San Isidro in Buenos Aires. They then face Wales at the Millennium Stadium on 18 August.

Argentina squad:

Forwards (17): Patricio Albacete, Rimas Alvarez Kairelis, Marcos Iván Ayerza, Martín Alberto Durand, Carlos Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe, Santiago Gonzalez Bonorino, Omar Hasan, Mario Ezequiel Ledesma Arocena, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Gonzalo Matías Longo Elia, Esteban Lozada, Lucas Ostiglia, Rodrigo Roncero, Martín Scelzo, Martín Schusterman, Alberto Vernet Basualdo.

Backs (13): Agustín Pichot (Captain), Felipe Contepomi, Manuel Contepomi, Ignacio Corleto,  Nicolás Fernández Miranda, Martín Gaitan, Juan Martín Hernández, Horacio Agulla, Lucas Borges, José María Núñez Piossek, Federico Serra Miras, Gonzalo Pedro Tiesi, Federico Todeschini.