(Reuters) - Argentina have included captain Julian Montoya and the first-choice halfback pairing of Tomas Cubelli and Nicolas Sanchez in a 34-man squad for the two tests against Australia in the Rugby Championship, the Argentine Rugby Union said on Thursday.
Coach Michael Cheika, the former Wallabies coach, has also brought back Santiago Cordero and Benjamin Urdapilleta, who were among those injured in the three-test series against Scotland this month that Argentina narrowly clinched last Saturday in a dramatic last-gasp victory at Santiago del Estero.
Montoya missed the decisive match with a bad back while Cubelli and Sanchez both suffered muscle tears in the first test -- Cubelli in the warm-up before kickoff and Sanchez early on in the game at San Salvador de Jujuy on July 2 – that ruled them out of the rest of the series.
There are returns to the squad for tighthead prop Santiago Medrano, loose forward Joaquin Oviedo and centre Lucas Mensa, while second rower Guido Petti and winger Bautista Delguy are being rested for later clashes in the southern hemisphere championship against New Zealand and South Africa.
Argentina host Australia in Mendoza on Aug. 6, and in San Juan on Aug. 13.
Forwards: Matias Alemanno (Gloucester), Rodrigo Bruni (Brive), Agustin Creevy (London Irish), Thomas Gallo (Benetton Treviso), Francisco Gomez Kodela (Lyon OU), Juan Martin Gonzalez (London Irish), Santiago Grondona (Exeter Chiefs), Facundo Isa (Toulon), Marcos Kremer (Stade Francais), Tomas Lavanini (Clermont Auvergne), Pablo Matera (unattached), Julian Montoya (Leicester Tigers), Santiago Medrano (Worcester Warriors), Joaquin Oviedo (Perpignan), Lucas Paulos (Brive), Ignacio Ruiz (Jaguares XV), Joel Sclavi (La Rochelle), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Benetton Treviso), Mayco Vivas (Jaguares XV)
Backs: Lautaro Bazan Velez (Rovigo), Gonzalo Bertranou (Dragons), Emiliano Boffelli (Edinburgh), Santiago Carreras (Gloucester), Lucio Cinti (London Irish), Santiago Cordero (Bordeaux Begles), Tomas Cubelli (Biarritz), Jeronimo de la Fuente (Perpignan), Juan Imhoff (Racing 92), Juan Cruz Mallía (Toulouse), Lucas Mensa (Mont-de-Marsan), Matias Moroni (Leicester Tigers), Matias Orlando (Newcastle Falcons), Nicolas Sanchez (Stade Francais), Benjamin Urdapilleta (Castres).
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)