BUENOS AIRES – France-based loose forward Facundo Isa was a shock omission from the 31-man Argentina Rugby World Cup named Monday by coach Mario Ledesma.
Instead, outsider Rodrigo Bruno got the nod and is among 26 players from the Jaguares, the Super Rugby runners-up, who will travel to Japan for the global tournament that begins on Sept. 20.
“I was convinced more by other players (than Isa),” Ledesma told reporters after revealing his hand for Pool C matches against France, Tonga, section favorite England and the United States.
“And I wanted to give priority to those playing at home over those based abroad. Contrary to what sections of the media thought, Facundo was not a certain choice.”
Two Argentina-based non-Jaguares were chosen, plus France-based fly-halves Nicolas Sanchez and Benjamin Urdapilleta and prop Juan Figallo from English club Saracens.
Jaguares flanker Pablo Matera will captain a national team that has won just eight of 41 internationals since finishing fourth at the last World Cup, in England and Wales four years ago.
Argentina went down 24-18 to an experimental South Africa side in Pretoria last Saturday — its ninth straight defeat since beating Australia away last September.
Former Pumas hooker Ledesma was chosen for four consecutive World Cup tournaments between 1999 and 2011 and loose forward Juan Manuel Leguizamon equals that record after making the squad for Japan.
Argentina has played 37 World Cup matches, winning 19 and losing 18, with the best showing a third-place finish at the 2007 tournament hosted by France.
Its World Cup record against its pool opponents in Japan is mixed. Argentina has won two of three clashes with France, beaten Tonga the only time they played and lost both meetings with England. Argentina has never faced its final pool opponent, the United States, at the tournament.
Back-three: Emiliano Boffelli (Jaguares), Joaquin Tuculet (Jaguares), Santiago Carreras (Jaguares), Bautista Delguy (Jaguares), Ramiro Moyano (Jaguares)
Centers: Jeronimo de la Fuente (Jaguares), Juan Cruz Mallia (Jaguares), Lucas Mensa (Pucara), Matias Moroni (Jaguares), Matias Orlando (Jaguares)
Fly-halves: Nicolas Sanchez (Stade Francais), Benjamin Urdapilleta (Castres)
Scrum-halves: Tomas Cubelli (Jaguares), Felipe Ezcurra (Hindu)
Back rows/second rows: Rodrigo Bruni (Jaguares), Javier Ortega Desio (Jaguares), Marcos Kremer (Jaguares), Juan Manuel Leguizamon (Jaguares), Tomas Lezana (Jaguares), Pablo Matera (Jaguares, capt), Matias Alemanno (Jaguares), Tomas Lavanini (Jaguares), Guido Petti (Jaguares)
Front rows: Agustin Creevy (Jaguares), Julian Montoya (Jaguares), Santiago Socino (Jaguares), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Jaguares), Juan Figallo (Saracens), Santiago Medrano (Jaguares), Enrique Pieretto (Jaguares), Mayco Vivas (Jaguares)