Monday, January 23, 2012

Argentine players' futures for next season and beyond

Argentina's first choice scrum half Nicolás Vergallo who hasn't fallen to fourth choice scrum half behind Luke Burgess, Jean-Marc Doussain and Nicolas Bézy, is rumoured to be joining Agen next season. Agen's scrum half Maxime Machenaud who has been one of the revelations of this season and a key part to their success for the first half of it, has confirmed he will leave at the end of the season and it is highly expected to be for Racing-Métro, where Nicolas Durand hasn't settled like he did at Perpignan and Mathieu Lorée is simply not very good.
Horacio Agulla to be released despite
avery good season so far for Leicester

Unfortunately for Gabriel Ascárate, Bayonne have decided against signing him after his trial with the Basque side. Ascárate nearly signed for Lyon before the season, and now has been turned down by Bayonne, hopefully he will prove those sides wrong some time in the future, for now though this means he will probably play with the Pampas XV this year.

Meanwhile despite having some success during his stint at Toulon, Leonardo Senatore will not be retained when Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe returns from injury. Senatore is first Argentine to be let go by his club due to Argentina's involvement in the Rugby Championship (4 Nations), that will see Pumas players unavailable until mid October and then again during November. Thus only indispensable world class players such as Fernández Lobbe, Roncero and Ayerza and players with little hope of a call up such as Francisco Gómez Kodela have been given contract extensions beyond this season so far. The futures for many Argentines is still to be decided.

The second player to not have his contract not renewed is Horacio Agulla, who is being released by Leicester despite having a good season. Other players such as Ignacio Mieres and Juan Imhoff also have unconfirmed futures. And more Pumas are expected to be effected by this.
Juan Martín Hernández could pave the way for Argentines
to play in Super Rugby in 2013?

Meanwhile Juan Martín Hernández, currently nursing a minor injury that will keep him out for a week or two, is at the end of his contract this June and according to Midi Olympique has interest coming from Super Rugby side the Blues who are based in Auckland. If this move is true then hopefully it would pave a way for more Argentines to play Super Rugby. The sides in that tournament hasn't always signed many foreigners in the past, but hopefully for the good of Argentine rugby that will change. Racing-Métro have said they won't recruit Argentines any more, although Hernández has not had a particularly special stint with Racing, surely they would be mad to let their star player Juan Imhoff go.

The nightmare scenario would be for Argentines to start retiring from international rugby young in order to protect their European contracts. If the Super Rugby sides don't sign players next season, then some players will be playing a lower standard of domestic rugby in Argentina on less pay and retiring from the Pumas could enter their minds.
Imhoff Racing.jpg
Could Racing let their star Juan Imhoff
leave at the end of the season
The ideal scenario would be for all the Pumas squad and those on the fringes to be playing a high level of professional rugby, so the Super Rugby sides shouldn't just be looking at a star with world class pedigree like Hernández, hopefully they will look at players like Ignacio Mieres, Leonardo Senatore or Mariano Galarza, but at least "El Mago" would be a start.

There are rumours of Argentine teams being added to the Super Rugby tournament at some point, which would help players released from European clubs immensely, but that then makes an already tricky tournament to run and even more logistically difficult. Though, that shouldn't mean involving Argentine sides should be ignored. The UAR must handle this situation correctly or the national side will be weakened.


  1. Leicester are the motherfuckers of England. They hired Marcelo Loffreda to coach the team and he got them to two finals in his first season but they fired him. Now they are going to release Agulla. Maybe the name should go from Leicester to the Falklands War Tigers.

  2. Agulla release was not a surprise for me, very poor game lasts months. The UAR must find some super rugby spots for the best players in EU and the upcoming Pampas starts.. ASAP!

  3. Leicester aren't realeasing Agulla because they don't think he's good you idiots in fact they would probably like to keep him. As the orignal post explains they're releasing him because he'll be away with Argentina all the time.
    If you want to be blame anyone blame the ARU for not turning professional and/or SANZAR for not including more Argentineans in Super rugby teams.
    Leicester and Racing Metro are completely right in this case and i expect a lot more teams to do the same in the future.