Rugby - Tri-Nations

Hernandez back for 'new Tri-Nations'

Argentina flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez will make his first Test appearance in three years in the Rugby Championship match against South Africa on Saturday.

 
Hernandez back  - Rugby - Tri-NationsReuters
 

The 30-year-old has suffered a string of injuries since helping his country finish third at the 2007 World Cup. His last test was against England in June 2009.

The team will be captained by number eight Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe who takes over from Felipe Contepomi after the centre made himself unavailable for this tournament.

The starting team at Newlands in Cape Town includes 14 players who play in Europe, with only flanker Julio Farias Cabello playing in Argentina. Twelve of the team took part in last year's World Cup in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, number eight Pierre Spies has been ruled out of South Africa because of a finger injury that requires surgery.

The experienced 27-year-old suffered the injury to his left hand last month while playing Super Rugby for the Bulls. Initial X-rays did not reveal the extent of the problem.

"However, on review and further investigation, including a CT scan and assessment by a hand specialist in Cape Town, it was found that Pierre had a fracture in the joint," Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Surgical correction is needed in order to prevent permanent damage. The usual rehabilitation time for these kinds of injuries is eight to 12 weeks."

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said Spies would not be replaced immediately. "We have faith in the players in the squad and will consider the call-up of a possible replacement at a later stage," said Meyer.

"Losing Pierre is obviously a setback, because he is the most experienced member of our forward pack, but we will never take any risks with injured players."

Keegan Daniel, Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Jacques Potgieter and Siya Kolisi are the remaining loose forwards in the Springbok squad.

Argentina Team - Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino; Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Santiago Fernandez, Horacio Agulla; Juan Martin Hernandez, Nicolas Vergallo; Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe (captain), Alvaro Galindo, Julio Farias Cabello, Patricio Albacete, Manuel Carizza, Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Rodrigo Roncero.

Replacements - Bruno Postiglioni, Marcos Ayerza, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Thomas Leonardi, Leonardo Senatore, Martin Landajo, Martin Rodriguez

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