Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Argentina Props extend contracts in France

Two frontrowers from Argentina who are unwanted by their country´s national selectors have extended their contracts to play for their respective clubs in France for a further two years. Mendoza prop Juan Pablo Orlandi has extended his contract with Paris club Racing Metro for a further two seasons. Orlandi arrived at the club from Italian side Rugby Rovigo for the 2009-2010 season after having made his international debut for Los Pumas in November 2008 while playing in Italy. He got the call up to replace the void left by the retirement of long serving international tighthead Omar Hasan and the injured duo of Martín Scelzo and Pedro Ledesma. Orlandi made his test debut vs France in Marseilles and recived plenty of game time in the tour of France, Italy and Ireland. However after a below par performance vs England in 2009 he was dropped. He remains a contender for a place in Los Pumas squad for Rugby World Cup 2011 and his new contract in France will go a long way to expanding his international career.

Tucuman frontrower Franco Pani has also signed on for two more years with Top 14 club La Rochelle who are having a good season - the clubs first in the Top 14. The club sits on 33 points and in 12th place - one point behind Agen and one ahead of Brive. One of these three clubs will be joining Bourgoin next season in the Pro d2. Pani has been with the club since 2007 and has recieved plenty of game time yet has never been called up for international duty. Such is the quality of players that Argentina produces.

Examples such as Orlandi and Pani underline the contribution of Argentina to global rugby and provide support for the Americas hosting a Rugby World Cup at the next possible time.

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