Fly-half Carreras preferred to Sanchez for Pumas' France Test

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Santiago Carreras made his Argentina debut as a winger in 2019 (AFP/Patrick HAMILTON)
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Gloucester's Santiago Carreras will start at fly-half instead of Nicolas Sanchez for this weekend's Test with France, the Argentina Rugby Federation announced on Thursday.

Carreras, 23, has started just three internationals in the No. 10 shirt but deputises for Stade Francais' Sanchez who is named on the bench after suffering a shoulder problem in last weekend's Top 14 loss.

"Above all what we want is that Santi is the player who best fits the way this team can develop offensively," Argentina assistant coach Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe told reporters.

"What Santi can bring to the field is that speed that he naturally has.

"We believe Santi has the ability to create, together with the other fourteen players, a greater volume of play and score a greater amount of points," he added.

Former Jaguares playmaker Carreras is joined at half-back for Saturday's game by experienced 32-year-old Tomas Cubelli, who missed the Rugby Championship with a hand injury.

Biarritz' Cubelli is one of eight changes made by head coach Mario Ledesma from October 2's loss to Australia.

Tight-head prop Thomas Gallo and left winger Mateo Carreras, fly-half Santiago's brother, make their first Test starts.

Gallo, 22, scored twice on his only previous appearance, the loss to the Wallabies, and also claimed a double for Italian club Treviso last month.

"He is following on from how the Rugby Championship ended," Lobbe said.

"He ended up playing in the last game and between the Championship and the month of November he was playing well," he added.

Eleven members of the matchday squad play their club rugby in France including the Parisian pair of Sanchez and flanker Marcos Kremer.

"Playing every weekend against these guys who we'll play on Saturday will give us confidence to say: 'I know this guy, I know his weaknesses, his strengths'," former Toulon back-rower Lobbe said.

"When you know what can happen in front of you, you're more confident and it allows you to play better," he added.

Los Pumas head to Italy next weekend before finishing their end of year tour against Ireland on November 21.

Argentina team to face France on Saturday at 2000 GMT (15-1):

Emiliano Boffelli; Bautista Delguy, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Mateo Carreras; Santiago Carreras, Tomas Cubelli; Facundo Isa, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera; Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti; Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya (capt), Thomas Gallo

Replacements: Facundo Bosch, Rodrigo Martinez, Santiago Medrano, Lucas Paulos, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Gonzalo Bertranou, Nicolas Sanchez, Lucio Cinti

Coach: Mario Ledesma (ARG)

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