The day after playing their final warm-up, Pumitas head coach José Pellicena confirmed his squad of 28 players for what will be the second World Rugby U20 Championship to be played in Argentina. The 12 best U20 teams will gather in Rosario and Santa Fe from June 4-22.
Seven players that were in France last year and two that were also in Georgia two years ago form the core of a team in search of their best performance to date.
Juan Pablo Castro and Gonzalo García will play their third U20 Championship, while it will be the second for home boy Santiago Chocobares, and team-mates Mateo Carreras (pictured), Gonzalo García, Joaquín de la Vega, Bautista Pedemonte and Ignacio Mendy.
Pedemonte, Mendy, Lucio Cinti and Juan Martín González as captain, won the gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games on home soil in Buenos Aires last October.
"I don't like comparing different tournaments as each has its own reality, but I see a great opportunity in the U20 Championship at home, with is a great motivation for players and staff. We will continue to work hard to get every detail right," said Pellicena.
Los Pumitas were in South Africa last month, where they beat Georgia U20, a Namibia XV and South Africa U20. On 1 May, they were beaten by the Argentina XV team preparing for the Seis Naciones Sudamericano that starts next week.
"Our goal is on us, on how we can get better every day, working hard. Obviously, we are looking ahead of our opening opponent Wales, yet our energy is on the work we ourselves can do to get better," said the coach.
Argentina will open their Pool A campaign against Wales on 4 June at the Hipódromo de Rosario. Their second game will be against Fiji at CRAI in Santa Fe four days later, before closing the pool stage on 12 June, against France at the Hipódromo. Every game will kick-off at 13:00 local time.
Los Pumitas are a key step in the development pathway for players in Argentina, with 67 players having gone on to play on the test stage after playing in the U20 Championship since it began in 2008. The nation with the most graduates to have go on to test status, Argentina have big names such as new captain Pablo Matera, Los Pumas’ record point-scorer Nicolás Sánchez, scrum-halves Tomás Cubelli and Martín Landajo, forwards Javier Ortega Desio, Matías Alemanno and Julian Montoya – all of whom have more than 50 caps – and newer faces like Emiliano Boffelli and Bautista Delguy having made their names first on this stage.
With one final training camp set for Buenos Aires, the squad is now ready to focus on breaking into the top four for the third time after their fourth place finish in South Africa 2012 and bronze medal in England in 2016.
Argentina squad: Tomás Acosta Pimentel, Manuel Bernstein, Lucas Bur, Francisco Calandra, Mateo Carreras, Estanislao Carullo, Juan Pablo Castro, Santiago Chocobares, Lucio Cinti, Francisco Coria, Joaquín de la Vega, Pablo Dimcheff, Thomas Gallo, Gonzalo García, Jerónimo Gómez Vara, Juan Martín González, Ramiro Gurovich, Rodrigo Isgro, Ignacio Mendy, Francisco Minervino, Federico Parnas, Bautista Pedemonte, Joaquín Pellandini, Juan Cruz Pérez Rachel, Gerónimo Prisciantelli, Nicolás Roger, Ramiro Tallone Nadaff, Agustín Toth.