Argentina Sevens head coach Santiago Gómez Cora has named five HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series debutants in his squad for Dubai.
Argentina captain Fernando Luna (pictured above) says his side are determined to improve on last year’s eighth place finish in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, as they prepare for the big kick-off in Dubai.
The South Americans began the 2014-15 series well, finishing as Plate runners-up and Plate winners in the first two tournaments, in Australia and Dubai, before tailing off towards the end to finish 52 points off the top four in the overall standings.
Luna heads a new-look squad for Dubai that includes five series debutants - Renzo Barbier, Joaquín Riera, Santiago Resino, Sebastián Cancelliere and Bautista Ezcurra.
Seven of the squad who won the silver medal at this summer’s Pan American Games in Toronto have been selected by coach Gomez Cora.
“We’re well prepared and the arrival of new players has strengthened the team,” said Luna.
“We go into the series with high expectations and the desire to fight to get to the top.
“Obviously the Olympics is the long-term goal but much importance will be given to the series so that we can go to Rio having climbed up the rankings and in the best possible shape.”
Argentina Sevens face reigning series champions Fiji, Canada and Japan in Pool A.
“It’s a tough group,” added Luna. “We’ve got the champions, a Canadian team that’s been strong for several years and Japan who continue to grow in sevens. All three games will be physically tough but if we maintain a good defence we’ll be able to qualify.”
Argentina will convene in Buenos Aires on Wednesday and fly out to Dubai three days later.
Argentina’s squad for Dubai: Santiago Alvarez, Renzo Barbier, Sebastian Cancelliere, Rodrigo Etchart, Bautista Ezcurra, Fernando Luna, Axel Muller, Santiago Resino, Gaston Revol, Joaquin Riera, Franco Sabato, German Schulz.