Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tribute to a Fullback Legend - Ignacio Corleto

Pumas fullback from Rugby World Cup 1999, 2003 and 2007, Ignacio Corleto officially retired from rugby last month following a long term injury problem that meant he was unable to continue playing rugby following the French Top 14 semi finals in June 2008. After missing the entire season in 2008-2009 he was released from his French club, Stade Français and he returned to Argentina. Corleto attempted a comeback earlier this year but unfortunately was not able to return to his former condition so decided to call it a day.

Born in Buenos Aires, Corleto started playing for CUBA and after impressing for Los Pumas at Rugby World Cup 1999 he got an offer to join Narbonne to play professionally in France. After two seasons he signed for powerhouses Stade Français with whom he won three national titles - in 2003, 2004 and 2007 alongside other Pumas internationals such as Juan Martín Hernández, Agustín Pichot and Rodrigo Roncero.

He played a total of 37 tests for Argentina, a number greatly influenced by two factors - injuries and the lack of test matches Argentina play per year. Corleto alongside prop Roncero made his debut in Tokyo vs Japan in 1998 and scored a try. He had a good try scoring ratio of 14 tries in 37 tests. He career highlight surely came in France 2007 when he played fullback in all of Argentina´s matches and scored brilliant tries vs France in the two meetings between the countries during the tournament.

´Nani´ Corleto retired aged 32 and Los Pumas has lost a true legend. Corleto scored the first try of Rugby World Cup 2007 in which Argentina defeated France by 5 points. He also scored in the first match of Rugby World Cup 2003.

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