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Contepomi handed Pumas captaincy

Felipe Contepomi will captain Argentina in Saturday's first Test against England in Salta.

Contepomi, who retired from professional club rugby at the end of the season, will form an experienced midfield partnership with Gonzalo Tiesi.

Argentina are resting the majority of their front-line internationals ahead of the Rugby Championship but there are no uncapped players in the Pumas line-up. Former Harlequin Benjamin Urdapilleta starts at fly-half and Julio Farias Cabello, who, like Tiesi, played for London Welsh last season, is at blindside flanker.

"This is a great opportunity for these players, both new and those who already have more experience," said head coach Santiago Phelan. "To represent your country in a game as big as this is a great responsibility."

England beat Argentina 13-9 in the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup but lost 24-22 on their last visit to Salta.

"We played against England in Salta four years ago and the memories are nice, but we we need to focus on the present," Phelan said. "It will be a very tough match."

England name their team on Thursday and are also missing some senior players, while others are absent on British and Irish Lions duty.

Argentina team to play England in Salta on Saturday, June 8:

M Bustos Moyano; M Orlando, G Tiesi, F Contepomi, M Montero; B Urdapilleta, M Landajo; P Henn, M Garcia Veiga, M Bustos, E Lozada, M Galarza, J Farias Cabello, B Macome, T Leonardi.

Replacements: M Guidone, G Roan, F Gomez Kodela, T Vallejos Cinalli, T De la Vega, N Vergallo, G Ascarate, B Agulla.

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