Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Stars since 2007 - Martín Bustos Moyano

The Rugby World Cup 2011 backline is to be noticably different to that of 2007 but not in a negative way. In 2007 the players selected for wing and fullback were a mixture of French and Argentine based players. Those based in Europe played for big clubs but were, generally speacking, not reciieving so much game time. The 2011 team differs greatly in that there are far more players across the backs playing for big European clubs and being used as first choice players. Despite only having played once for Argentina, Martín Bustos Moyano,  is a certainty for the squad for New Zealand 2011. He made his international debut in November 2008 vs Chile but has since not represented his country. He was selected for Argentina in 2010 but missed out on selection for Los Pumas despite playing for Argentina A vs France. This is all set to change following an amazing rise from an amateur playing for Córdoba Athletic to finishing second with Montpellier in the French Top 14 in his first season playing abroad.

Like many of the new exciting players in the backs such as Gonzalo Camacho, Santiago Fernández, Agustín Figuerola, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino and Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga, Bustos Moyano came through the ranks by impressing at Rugby Sevens. This group of players are all European based professionals and should all be a part of the Los Pumas squad at Rugby World Cup 2011. All were amateur players until 2009 or 2010. Their stories are similar with success playing on the IRB World Sevens Circuit combined with playing for Los Jaguares (Argentina A) being the path to higher honors and a professional contract. Bustos Moyano played in twelve Rugby Sevens legs for Argentina from 2005-2009, including the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens when Argentina finished second.

With the introduction of the PladAR system in Argentina, Bustos Moyano was amongst the players selected to take part in the semi-professional program aimed at developing the next generation of Argentine international players. The players were, for the first time ever, paid and trained under significantly better conditions than previously. The preperation contributed to Los Jaguares´ results in 2009 with Bustos Moyano playing in wins over Georgia, Namibia, USA Select XV, BC Bears and Canada A. He played for Los Jagures in 2010 scoring a try vs France A to bring his total to 37 points in six appearances. It was, however, to be his performances playing for Los Pampas XV in the Vodacom Cup in 2010 that would change his career forever. After impressing in the South African competition, Bustos Moyano was signed to play for Montpellier.



Martín Bustos Moyano made his Top 14 Orange debut for Montpellier on August 28 in a derby vs neighbouring side, Perpignan the 2009 French Champions. He was selected as the teams starting left winger and was given the responsibility of being the goalkicker. The match was played in Perpignan, a place which is not Montpellier´s favorite place to visit. Bustos Moyano made an impressive debut in kicking two penalties and a conversion as Montpellier made history by winning the match 16-6. Montpellier hosted reigning Heineken Cup champions, Toulouse a mere four days latter and won the match 22-21. Bustos Moyano scored all 22 points for his team as he kicked five penalties and converted his own try. This put Montpellier on the top of the Top 14 table for the first time in the clubs history and cemented Bustos Moyano as the clubs left winger and he would hold onto the 11 shirt for the entire season.



Montpellier managed to qualify for the French Top 14 play-off´s, but only just as the team finished sxth to claim the final barrage spot and would face Castres in an away match with the winner going on the face Paris side, Racing Metro in a semi final clash in Marseille. Castres had been undefeated at home all season and were expected to book their place in the semi final. Montpellier, however, had other plans and Martín Bustos Moyano was key in kicking all 18 of his sides points as Montpellier defeated Castres 18-17 to book an historical Top 14 semi-final. The semi final on May 28 would test the resolve of Bustos Moyano as he had a difficult attempt at kicking a penalty goal from 39 metres in the 79th minute to win the match for Montpellier. It was a packed Stade Velodrome but Bustos Moyano stood up to show his potential in slotting the goal as Montpellier claimed a one point win to advance to the Top 14 Final to face Toulouse.



Bustos Moyano had made his mark in France. An unknown player, with only one international cap had contributed heavilly to getting Montpellier into the French club final for the first time ever and also in qualifying for the Heineken Cup for the first time ever. He was the third highest pointscorer in the Top 14 with 283 points , behind only Jonathan Wisniewski of Racing Metro and Romain Teulet of Castres. Bustos Moyano was thus the highest points scoring foreigner, surpassing Johnny Wilkinson. He went into the Top 14 Final alongside fellow Argentine internationals, Santiago Fernández and Juan Figallo looking to come away with the accomplishment of the century and midway through the second half Montpellier looked like winning the match. Toulouse, however mounted a comeback to win the game 15-10. Bustos Moyano contributed two points as he converted the games only try scored by Fijian international, Timoci Nagusa. Despite not winning the final, Bustos Moyano certainly attracted plenty of praise from his club, the international media and Argentine rugby authorities. He is set to be included in the Argentine squad for Rugby World Cup 2011 and begin what looms as being a long term international career.

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