Few changes as Scotland prepare for Argentina

IN SELECTING a side to complete a historic series win Scotland coach Andy Robinson made just three changes, two positional and one personal, to the side that won quite comfortably in Tucuman last Saturday.

• Simon Danielli scored five tries in his opening eight Tests and has managed just one in the ensuing 17 outings, last year's score against Italy. Picture: Jane Barlow

That historic victory came courtesy of 24 points from the boot of Dan Parks but Argentina are unlikely to be quite so accommodating when it comes to penalties in Mar del Plata and Scotland may need to score tries to win this one.

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With that in mind, the only new face in Saturday's run-on 15 is Ulster's big winger Simon Danielli, a proven try-scorer at club level.

He replaces Nick De Luca. Sean Lamont, who started on the left wing last time out, switches to the right flank to accommodate Danielli and Max Evans moves in one place from the 14 to the 13 shirt, replacing De Luca at outside centre.

On the substitutes bench Alasdair Dickinson is preferred to Geoff Cross as cover for the two props having recovered sufficiently from a stomach upset. Jim Thompson also loses his place on the bench, and the chance of a debut cap, to De Luca.

The only doubt hanging over the team centred on Johnnie Beattie. The No 8 not only limped off the field in Tucuman with a dead leg but the same problem prevented him from training for much of this week.

Robinson is keen to have him play on Saturday and the coach said that he would give Beattie until Friday to prove his fitness during the traditional captain's run, a favour that was not extended to Chris Cusiter.

With the former Scotland skipper safely back home Al Kellock continues in the captain's role and the big lock seems to be something of a lucky mascot for Scotland. He accepted the Hopetoun Cup following the autumn win over Australia and he was presented with the 200th Anniversary Cup after the Tucuman win. Another victory on Saturday and Robinson might suspect that Scotland's success under Kellock's captaincy is more down to lock than luck.

Robinson has warned his players not to read too much into last week's 24-16 success in Tucuman as they seek their first Test series win in the Southern Hemisphere. He said: "That's in the past now. It's a new game on Saturday. The scoreboard starts at 0-0 and the Pumas await."

Argentina head coach Santiago Phelan has made two changes to his starting XV.

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Phelan has drafted in scrum-half Agustin Figuerola for Alfredo Lalanne, while Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino gets the nod on the left wing ahead of Lucas Borges, who drops to the bench. Santiago Guzman and Rafael Carballo will be among the replacements with Mariano Galarza and Ignacio Mieres dropping out, while Nicolas Vergallo will be the replacement scrum-half.

Stade Francais prop Rodrigo Roncero believes the Pumas have much to improve on from the performance last Saturday.

"You cannot play rugby if you give away as many penalties as we gave last Saturday, but we have what it takes to correct it," he said. "We scored two tries and that's a good thing. We controlled the ball and Scotland never got into our try line.

"We must win every time we wear the Argentina shirt. We are not forced to win this weekend just because we lost last Saturday, but it is important to recover confidence."

Argentina team: M Rodriguez (Stade Francais); L Gonzalez Amorosino (Leicester), G Tiesi (Stade Francais), S Fernandez (Montpellier), H Agulla (Leicester); F Contepomi (Toulon, capt), A Figuerola (CASI); R Roncero (Stade Francais), M Ledesma (Clermont), M Scelzo (Clermont), M Carizza (Biarritz), P Albacete (Stade Toulousian), G Fessia (Cordoba Athletic), JM Leguizamon (Stade Francais), JM Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon). Subs: M Ayerza (Leicester), S Guzman (Tucuman RC), A Campos (Montauban), N Vergallo (Dax), R Carballo (Beagles Bordeaux), L Borges (Albi).