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Rugby-Lobbe returns to lead Pumas against All Blacks


Sept 3 (Reuters) - Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe has recovered from a calf injury that kept him out of the first two Rugby Championship matches against South Africa to lead to his country against New Zealand on Saturday.

Lobbe, who was inspirational in the Pumas' debut season in the competition last year, replaces Leonardo Senatore who was banned for seven weeks for biting Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth in their narrow 22-17 loss in Mendoza on Aug. 24.

Pablo Matera, who was cited for eye gouging in the Mendoza match but found not guilty, will join Lobbe and Juan Manuel Leguizamon in a combative and rangy loose forward trio.

Former captain Felipe Contepomi, who captained the side in Lobbe's absence against the Springboks, has been dropped to the bench for the match at Waikato Stadium, with Santiago Fernandez joining the impressive Marcelo Bosch in the midfield.

Fullback Juan Martin Fernandez has also returned to the starting side after he missed the narrow loss to the Springboks in Mendoza with Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino dropping to the bench.

The Pumas have never beaten the All Blacks in their previous 16 matches, with their best result a 21-21 draw in Buenos Aires in 1985.

They recovered from a 73-13 thrashing in Johannesburg in their opening clash to almost record their first Rugby Championship victory a week later on home soil.

Argentina: 15-Martin Hernandez, 14-Gonzalo Camacho, 13-Marcelo Bosch, 12-Santiago Fernandez, 11-Horacio Agulla, 10-Nicolas Sanchez, 9-Martin Landajo, 8-Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7-Pablo Matera, 6-Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), 5-Julio Faras Cabello, 4-Manuel Carizza, 3-Juan Figallo, 2-Eusebio Guiaz, 1-Marcos Ayerza

Replacements: 16-Agustin Creevy, 17-Nahuel Lobo, 18-Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19-Mariano Galarza, 20-Benjamin Macome, 21-Tomas Cubelli, 22-Felipe Contepomi, 23-Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino (Editing by John O'Brien)

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