Argentina international rugby coach, Santiago ´Tati´ Phelan has signed on for an additional two years as coach of Los Pumas. The 37 year old former test backrower has been in charge of Los Pumas since early 2008 when he was named as the successor to Marcelo Loffreda. The announcement was made on Wednesday afternoon by the UAR. The contract was agreed to by the UAR for two years at the request of Phelan who did not want a four year deal like what he had had in his first term as Pumas headcoach. Joining Phelan will be former Biarritz and Argentine international centre, Martín Gaitán in the capacity of permanent collaborator. Assistant coaches Fabián Turnes and Mauricio Reggiardo have both been retained while Germán Fernández has been promotted from video analyst to techinical assistant.
In addition to the confirmation of Phelan and company as the coaching staff of Los Pumas, the statement released by the UAR also confirmed Daniel Hourcade to continue his work as the head coach of Los Pampas XV. The UAR also intends to appoint coaches for the Argentina Under 20 team at a latter date.
UAR chairman Luis Castillo stated: "Tati's appointment as coach is part of our interest to ratify his management, which was highly satisfactory in several respects. Now it's time to continue working to improve day by day, and face another busy schedule."
For his part, Manuel Galindo, chairman of the Subcommittee on High-Performance, said: "We are very pleased to have been able to agree to the continuity of Santiago Phelan, to remain the coach of Los Pumas for the next two years. It is very important to continue working under the same system, taking into account ahead of time, that there is so much competition for the National Team, with the traditional windows and the first international (The) Rugby Championship."
Argentina can now start early in preparing its on-field game plan for the 2012 The Rugby Championship in which Los Pumas will play Australia, New Zealand and South Africa both home and away. It will see Argentina play over twice as many international matches compared to what it had previously been playing per year. Before taking on three of the worlds´s top four ranked teams, Argentina will have a demanding home series vs Italy and France in which the South Americans will play the Italians once and France twice in June 2012. Argentina will laso take on Wales, France and Ireland in a three test European tour in November 2012. Now Phelan has the luxury of being able to prepare properly and better assess the potential players for the 2012 season.