Uruguay coach Esteban Meneses made six changes, compared to the victory against Namibia, in the team that will face New Zealand on Thursday in Lyon (9:00 p.m.) for the last match of the two teams in Group A of the 2023 World Cup.
Meneses nevertheless retained his managers against the All Blacks, like his hinge, Santiago Arata at the scrum and Felipe Etcheverry at the opening, who will have played the four matches of the “Teros” in the tournament.
The Uruguayan coach also kept his flanker Manuel Ardao, of whom Ian Foster, his counterpart for New Zealand, is particularly wary. “We know that they are very combative in the rucks. It's not for nothing that they have the best ball-scratcher in the World Cup in their ranks,” said the All Blacks coach about Ardao.
The third line actually caused six turnovers after regroupings, the best ratio in the competition tied with Samoan Fritz Lee. He is also the player who has participated in the most defensive rucks (32) since the start of the tournament.
Ardao will share the third row with two players who were not in the Teros victory against Namibia: Manuel Diana, starting at No. 8 in place of Carlos Deus and Lucas Bianchi taking that of Santiago Civetta, placed on the substitutes' bench. Meneses made three changes to his three-quarter line, with Rodrigo Silva replacing Baltazar Amaya at full-back and Gaston Mieres moving to the right wing in place of Bautista Basso, who started against Namibia.
Finally in the second row, Ignacio Dotti is preferred to Felipe Aliaga to be associated with Bayonnais Manuel Leindekar. Uruguay, very attractive since the start of the tournament and not yet mathematically eliminated, could dream of a completely improbable qualification if they beat New Zealand, with the offensive bonus and a difference of more than 80 points.
The Uruguay XV to face New Zealand:
Silva - Mieres, Inciarte, Vilaseca (cap.), Freitas - (or) Etcheverry, (m) Arata - Bianchi, Diana, Ardao - Leindekar, Dotti - Arbelo, Kessler, Sanguinetti
Pujadas, Benitez, Peculo, Rodriguez, Civetta, Ormaechea, Berchesi, Alonso