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Three changes for Argentina to face England

PARIS -Argentina have made three changes to their line-up for Rugby World Cup’s bronze medal match against England in Paris on Friday, signaling their intent to try for a positive finish to the tournament in France.

Argentina had promised after their heavy semi-final loss to New Zealand last Friday that they would turn the unwanted third-place playoff into an opportunity to leave the World Cup on a high note, and they have stuck to their guns with a strong selection for the clash at the Stade de France.

Coach Michael Cheika made a single change to the forward pack with Pedro Rubiolo replacing Tomas Lavanini while among the backs, Tomas Cubelli comes in at scrumhalf for Gonzalo Bertranou and Jeronimo de la Fuente at inside centre for Santiago Chocobares.

“De la Fuente is fit and basically match ready. It was difficult for him not to play more games, he deserves it," the coach said on Wednesday.

“It is a good game for Cubelli, especially next to the ruck which we think that due to the weather and because it is England, will be his strong point."

The 32-year-old De la Fuente has played a single game at this World Cup, while 20-year-old Rubiolo wins a 10th cap as he faces a tough test against a strong English second row.

The same bench is named for a second successive week, ensuring what is likely the last test for 38-year-old former captain Agustin Creevy, who has amassed 107 caps and played in 21 World Cup matches.

England beat Argentina 27-10 in their opening pool game in Marseille on the first weekend of the tournament last month but 11 of the 15 that started for the Pumas that day will again be on the field at kick off on Friday.

It will be the third time Argentina play in the bronze match, having beaten France 34-10 at the 2007 World Cup but losing in 2015 when South Africa defeated them 24-13.

“Winning the bronze medal is very important. It's a Rugby World Cup. It is very nice and very important," Cheika added.

"For us, for everything we did and for the country, to be able to win bronze is to finish as high as we can. Also the experience for everyone in the group, for the future and the legacy of the most experienced players. Finishing as high as we can was always the goal.”

Argentina team: 15-Juan Cruz Mallia, 14-Emiliano Boffelli, 13-Lucio Cinti, 12-Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11-Mateo Carreras, 10-Santiago Carreras, 9-Tomas Cubelli, 8-Facundo Isa, 7-Marcos Kremer, 6-Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5-Pedro Rubiolo, 4-Guido Petti, 3-Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2-Julian Montoya (captain), 1-Thomas Gallo

Replacements: 16-Agustin Creevy, 17-Joel Sclavi, 18-Eduardo Bello, 19-Matias Alemanno, 20-Rodrigo Bruni, 21-Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22-Nicolas Sanchez, 23-Matias Moroni. REUTERS