Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Famous Faces Abroad - Argentine players at ASM Clermont Auvergne

2009-2010 Top 14 Champions, Association Sportive Montferrandaise Clermont Auvergne, or simply Clermont, will have two familiar Pumas faces in their squad again for the 2010-2011 season. Hooker, Mario Ledesma Arocena will be playing his 6th season for Clermont. Ledesma previously played for Castres from 2003-2005 and for Narbonne from 2001-2003. This season is likely to be his last as he signed an extention for one year. Ledesma is aged 37 and will be 38 for Rugby World Cup 2011. Age, it seems, is not a concern of Ledesma, Clermont or Argentina. He continues to perform well and looks certain to be hooker for club and country like always.

Ledesma made his test debut in 1996 vs Uruguay and has played 76 tests for Argentina. The lack of tests Argentina recieve is telling as he would have played over 150 tests if Argentina were to receive the same number of international matches as the likes of Australia, England, Ireland or New Zealand. In other words, Ledesma would hold the World Record for most test appearances. He has played in three Rugby World Cup´s and is dead set on playing in a fourth and even has a desire to play in Argentina´s debut season in the Tri Nations in 2012. Ledesma had the honor of captaining Argentina vs Japan in 1998.

Mario Ledesma will be joined for another season by fellow Pumas veteran, Martín Scelzo who unlike Ledesma, is a European Champion as he won the Heineken Cup for English club Northampton. Scelzo has played 51 tests for Argentina since making his debut in 1996 vs the USA. He has been a long time servant for Los Pumas but has missed a lot of matches through injury and competition for a place in the side. He plays tight-head prop which is traditionally a position in which Argentina are able to dominante their opposition. Like team mate Ledesma, Scelzo is targetting a fourth Rugby World Cup and is guaranteed to be selected. Scelzo has scored 10 tries for Los Pumas which is very high for a prop.

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