Sunday, June 12, 2011
Fringe Players fail to impress as Argentina lose to French Barbarians in Resistencia
The French Barbarians won the match 21-18 as Los Pumas, playing in a black strip, failed to score a try. The French Barbarians scored two tries and the Top 14´s highest points scorer, Romain Teulet of Castres, kicked eleven points. All of Argentina´s eighteen points came from the boot of flyhalf Nicolás Sánchez of Los Pampas XV who was making his first appearance for Los Pumas. A significant number of regular Pumas players based in Europe were rested for the encounter as coach Santiago Phelan looked to give opportunities to potential squad members. In the end the large number of players below international level proved to be insufficient and as such the French Barbarians were able to get the win. Nevertheless, the match was a highly positive experience for Argentina as it will have helped the selectors extensively in narrowing the squad down from 46 to 30 players for New Zealand 2011. Of the players in the starting XV two appear to be set to start for Argentina vs England in the World Cup clash in Dunedin. Those players being tighthead prop Martín Scelzo and secondrower Manuel Carizza. Another five loom as being in the squad of 30 but outside the match day XV, i.e. loosehead prop Juan Figallo, hooker Agustín Creevy, backrower Leonardo Senatore, scrumhalf Alfredo Lalanne and winger Lucas González Amorosino.
Despite fielding such a weakened side, the Argentine public turned out in force for the match as the recently constructed, El Estadio Centenario, received a strong crowd to underline the extensive popularity of rugby in Argentina and the capability of the country hosting Rugby World Cup 2023.