Mariano Galarza
Argentina will likely be without lock Mariano Galarza for the rest of the World Cup. Getty

Argentina will be seeking to bounce back from a 26-16 defeat to reigning champions New Zealand when they face unbeaten Georgia in their second World Cup Pool C match at Gloucester's Kingsholm.

Where to watch

Argentina vs Georgia kicks off at 16:45 BST on Friday 25 September. Live coverage is available on ITV HD and BBC Radio 5 Live.


Argentina, third-place finishers in 2007, have continued to improve as a result of their regular involvement in the brutal southern hemisphere Rugby Championship. They can take confidence from that aforementioned loss to an All-Black side boasting the most caps in tournament history. Although the battling Pumas eventually relented under significant pressure from the likes of second-half try scorers Aaron Smith and Sam Cane, as well as influential replacement Sonny Bill Williams, their defending was typically ferocious for long spells and they also looked menacing with the ball in their own hands.

A 13-12 lead at half-time of that eagerly-anticipated Wembley clash was just reward for their committed effort and a bout of New Zealand indiscipline that saw both Conrad Smith and captain Richie McCaw sent to the sin bin. Keeping up that sort of intensity for the entire 80 minutes was always likely to prove a difficult task against Steven Hansen's star-studded squad.

Head coach Daniel Hourcade has shuffled his pack with three changes among the forwards for this one as Matias Alemanno, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, and Facundo Isa pack down in place of Guido Petti, Pablo Matera, and Leonardo Senatore. Lock Mariano Galarza looks set to miss the rest of the tournament after being slapped with a nine-week ban for making contact with the eye of Brodie Retallick, although he can appeal.

As for Georgia, they have climbed three places to 13th - two above Italy - in the latest world rankings after respected captain Mamuka Gorgodze inspired his troops to a hard-fought 17-10 victory against Tonga at the same venue. Giorgi Tkhilaishvili also crossed the line in that match, with the Eastern Europeans valiantly defending their lead with 14 men after Fetu'u Vainikolo had reduced the arrears and Merab Kvirikashvili received a late yellow card.

Evidently satisfied with his team's performance in front of a noisy crowd, Milton Haig has named an unchanged squad for what will be a far tougher test against a side they have not beaten in three previous test meetings. If they do manage to upset the odds, Georgia will have tasted victory in two consecutive World Cup matches for the very first time. They have never qualified for the quarter-finals in three previous attempts dating back to their debut in 2003.

Mamuka Gorgodze
Georgia captain Mamuka Gorgodze was hugely impressive during the victory over Tonga. AFP


Argentina: 15. Tuculet, 14. Cordero, 13. Bosch, 12. Hernandez, 11. Imhoff, 10. Sanchez, 9. Cubelli, 8. Isa, 7. Fernandez Lobbe, 6. Leguizamon, 5. Lavanini, 4. Alemanno, 3. Chaparro, 2. Creevy (c), 1. Ayerza

Replacements: 16. Montoya, 17. Noguera, 18. Herrera, 19. Ortega Desio, 20. Matera, 21. Landajo, 22. De La Fuente 23. Amorosino

Georgia: 15. Kvirikashvili, 14. Mchedlidze, 13. Kacharava, 12. Sharikadze, 11. Aptsiauri, 10. Malaguradze, 9. Lobzhanidze, 8. Gorgodze (c), 7. Kolelishvili, 6. Tkhilaishvili, 5. Mikautadze, 4. Nemsadze, 3. Zirakashvili, 2. Bregvadze, 1. Nariashvili

Replacements: 16. Mamukashvili, 17. Asieshvili, 18. Chilachava, 19. Datunashvili, 20. Sutiashvili, 21. Begadze, 22. Pruidze, 23. Giorgadze

What the coaches say

Daniel Hourcade: "The problem was not physical, it was breathlessness (against New Zealand). We had to defend too much and obviously when we recovered the ball and kicked we gave it back to them. We need to hold the ball more rather than let it go which allowed them to maintain their attacking rhythm.

"The lads were a bit nervous early on and that allowed them to get early points that later count for a lot. In the first half we should have got another try and not given away the fourth penalty, then we would have had a more deserved points difference. We have to set up our best team in the week, we've known for a long time that we had five days to the match with a tough Georgian team."

Milton Haig: "The difference between the Tonga and Argentine side is that Tonga were ranked 12th in the world whereas Argentina are ranked eighth, and they play in the Rugby Championship every year and have got some very good quality players. I'm not saying that Tonga don't, but Argentina will be a different kettle of fish. It's a nice opportunity for us this time because there's no pressure on Georgia, all the pressure is on Argentina. I think that's how we'll look to play, we'll just go out and play our game with no pressure on us.

"It's going to be a battle of the forward packs there's no doubt about that, because they are both big and strong, both scrumming lineouts are very good. But I think it's going to be the other parts of the game that will determine who wins - who attacks the best and certainly who is able to create opportunities for themselves. We're probably the underdogs in that respect but if we can defend like we did against Tonga and create a few more opportunities, who knows?"

Daniel Hourcade
Daniel Hourcade was appointed as Argentina's head coach back in October 2013. AFP

Other fixtures

Argentina vs Georgia is the only World Cup fixture taking place on Friday, with Italy v Canada, South Africa v Samoa and hosts England's crucial Pool A encounter against Wales to come at the weekend as well as Australia v Uruguay, Scotland v United States and Ireland v Romania.