Juan Martín Hernández has failed in his race to be fit for Rugby World Cup 2011 after being omitted from Argentina coach Santiago Phelan’s 30-man squad for the tournament in New Zealand announced on Tuesday.
Hernández, who last played for the Pumas in June 2009 against England, underwent surgery after injuring his right knee playing for Racing Metro in the French Top 14 back in March but misses out on the showpiece tournament in New Zealand.
Phelan may be missing one of his star players, but his squad does feature 10 of the players who helped Argentina realise their best ever Rugby World Cup showing with third place in France four years ago, including Felipe Contepomi, Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe and Rodrigo Roncero.
The other returnees from a tournament in which Argentina captured the imagination of the rugby world are Horacio Agulla, Patricio Albacete, Marcos Ayerza, Mario Ledesma, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Martín Scelzo and Gonzalo Tiesi.
In contrast to this experienced thread to the squad, Phelan has selected three uncapped players in his Rugby World Cup squad in Tomas Vallejos, Maximiliano Bustos and Agustín Gosio, the latter two having played in the Pumas’ 78-15 win over a South America XV last weekend.
Argentina will face England, Scotland, Georgia and Romania in Pool B with the Pumas’ opening match a tricky one against 2003 winners England at the Otago Stadium in Dunedin on 10 September, a day after the tournament begins.
Before then, Argentina travel to Cardiff to face Wales at the Millennium Stadium in a warm-up Test on 20 August and a friendly with English Premiership club Worcester Warriors three days later, with the 30-man squad joined by two of the players cut by Phelan in Gabriel Ascarate and Andrés Bordoy as injury cover.
Argentina squad for RWC 2011
Forwards: Patricio Albacete, Marcos Iván Ayerza, Maximiliano Bustos, Alejandro Campos, Manuel Carizza, Agustin Creevy, Julio Farias Cabello, Juan Figallo, Mariano Galarza, Alvaro Galindo, Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe, Mario Ledesma, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Rodrigo Roncero, Martín Scelzo, Leonardo Vicente Senatore, Tomas Vallejos.
Backs: Horacio Agulla, Marcelo Bosch, Gonzalo Camacho, Felipe Contepomi, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Agustin Gosio, Juan José Imhoff, Alfredo Lalanne, Martín Rodriguez, Federico Nicolás Sanchez, Gonzalo Tiesi, Nicolás Vergallo.
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