Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Rugby Championship Pumas to Watch - Lucas González Amorosino

Lucas González Amorosino
In the second weekly edition of The Rugby Championship Pumas to Watch, the featured player is one who has been tearing up defences by storm in the Top 14 Orange and even has followers of Argentina 2023 calling him the best fullback in France. He is, 26 year old fullback, Lucas González Amorosino. Twelve months ago he was far from being guaranteed a place in Los Pumas´ squad for Rugby World Cup 2011 and was having problems securing game time at all for the Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership. This all seems like a distant memory now, however, as González Amorosino scored the try of the World Cup to crush Scottish hearts and book Argentina into a Quarter Final vs the All Blacks. Since leaving New Zealand, González Amorosino has gone from strength to strength. He has been used by Montpellier as the teams leading fullback and has done so in an attacking manner, continuing from where he left off at the World Cup.

Like most Pumas players, González Amorosino was born in Buenos Aires. He comes from the Pucurá club which has produced a number of international players with former test winger Lucas Borges being such an example. It was his performances for Pucurá which saw him progress to where he is today. His big break came in 2009 when he was a part of Argentina´s Sevens team which finished second in the World Cup, behind Wales, in Dubai. His performances saw him earn a call up to Argentina´s senior side for the June internationals vs England that year. He took his chance when it came following an injury to veteran back Francisco Leonelli in the opening minutes of the match in Salta. This meant Argentina were fielding a young backthree of Gonzalo Camacho, Horacio Agulla and Lucas González Amorsino. Agulla was playing his rugby for Brive and Camacho, having impressed on the Sevens circuit, had recently signed for the Harlequins. González Amorosino´s turn arrived in the European pre-season and he saw signed by the Leicester Tigers.

His time at Leicester was not the greatest as despite impressing in the 2009-2010 season, the Tigers only gave him four games in the 2010-2011 season. His talent was not put to good use at all and he was happy to take up an offer to move to France to play for Montpellier. González Amorosino left the club quietly and has done the talking on the field. He played on four of Argentina´s five matches at Rugby World Cup 2011, starting against Romania and Georgia at fullback and impressing from the bench against both Scotland and New Zealand. In addition to scoring tries vs Romania and  Scotland, González Amorosino was the second best linebreaker of the tournament. It suggested that not only had Leicester failed to use him well but the club didn´t know how to use him at all.

Since joining Montpellier, González Amorosino has impressed as both a linebreaker and a try scorer and has had a lot to do with the teams rise up the standings to now be well and truely back in the title race after having been well down the ladder in the early rounds of the season. His form has seen him underline his credentials as Argentina´s best attacking fullback option and this could very well see him start The Rugby Championship in Argentina´s 15 shirt. His main rival is Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga who is being used this season at inside centre by Stade Français and may well have an international future in this position. Other potential options include World Cup wingers Horacio Agulla and Juan Imhoff or González Amorosino´s Montpellier teammate, Martín Bustos Moyano.

The depth is impressive now unlike in 2008 when Argentina were left to find a replacement for Ignacio Corleto and struggled to do so until 2010. González Amorosino now, however, is the man to go to. With Santiago Phelan looking to play a more expansive brand of rugby it would be logical for the Montpellier fullback to wear Argentina´s 15 shirt. Since debuting vs Chile in San Juan in December 2007, González Amorosino has played 14 tests, scoring four tries. He has started 8 of the 14 matches thus far with five being on the wing and three at fullback.
Week One: Juan Manuel Leguizamón
Week Two: Lucas González Amorosino
Week Three: Marcelo Bosch

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