Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Rugby Championship Players to Watch - Martín Bustos Moyano

Pumas goalkicker in 2012?
Córdoba´s Martín Bustos Moyano has long been a fringe player for Argentina. The 26 year old winger or fullback has long been on team sheets for Argentine sides other than Los Pumas. The share lack of opportunities has been what has gone against him.With Argentina playing such few international matches players have a tougher time than in most other cases. While it is normal for first tier sides to face one Tier Two side a year, this is not the case for Los Pumas. Instead, Argentina´s international matches outside of those against tier one opposition are against third tier team from South America - mainly Chile and Uruguay but this year Brazil will also face Argentina.

Sevens World Cup in Dubai
In the case of Martín Bustos Moyano he is listed as an international player, having represented his country. But his only test appearance came in 2008 vs Chile. Argentina´s policy of regularly changing the players to face South American teams meant Bustos Moyano has been unable to play again at international level. The match in which he played featured a number of players who, like Bustos Moyano, have gone onto play in Europe. The back three, for instance, was Lucas González Amorosino, Gonzalo Camacho and Martín Bustos Moyano. Benjamin Urdapilleta was the flyhalf with Ignacio Mieres on the bench. Leonardo Senatore and Francisco Gomez Kodela both started in the pack. The amateur days of Argentine rugby are finally going away and now players who face the likes of Chile and Uruguay at a young age are able to go through the PladAR system, play in the Vodacom Cup and even get professional contracts to play in Argentina. Bustos Moyano got his big break in part because of this system. His rise came after having been in Argentina´s Sevens team which won Silver at the 2009 World Cup and regularly playing for Los Jaguares and Argentina A. 

As a regular player for teams below the level of Los Pumas, Bustos Moyano was selected as one of the players in the first ever PladAR squad of players which were trained as semi-professional players in Argentina. He went on to play for Los Pampas XV in South Africa´s Vodacom Cup in its debut season in 2010. He was able to show his abilities on a weekly basis and it went a long way to landing him his big break - a contract with Montpellier. But it was not the Vodacom Cup which saw him attract interest, rather it was the involvement of Fabien Galthié as an assistant coach to Santiago Phelan. Upon taking up the position with Montpellier, Galthié contributed to the club´s signing of Martín Bustos Moyano as well as  Santiago Fernández. The club now has six Pumas - all of whom are young, post 2007 generation players. 

Bustos Moyano celebrates after winning the Semi Final
Bustos Moyano´s arrival at Montpellier sparked immediate success. His debut came vs Perpignan at the Stade Aimé-Giral on August 28, 2010 which Montpellier had never before won at. Bustos Moyano kicked two penalties and converted a try in a history making 16-6 away victory. The mission got more complicated with Montpellier hosting Toulouse at the Stade Yves du Manoir the following weekend. Bustos Moyano started the match and left his mark in a vivid way by scoring all 22 of his teams points as Montpellier defeated Toulouse 22-21. He continued to contribute significantly throughout the season and, importantly, showed an ability to deliver when it mattered most. His goalkicking made history as Montpellier qualified for the 2010-2011 Top 14 Orange play-off´s as he scored 17 points in defeating Toulon to finish sixth. Having qualified Bustos Moyano scored all 18 points as Montpellier won its barrage match vs Castres and qualified for a Semi Final vs Racing Métro at Marseilles. The epic Semi Final saw Montpellier come out on top with a 26-25 victory thanks to a successful Bustos Moyano penalty in the 79th minute. Having been leading Toulouse in the final, Montpellier lost its lead and Toulouse won 15-10

Bustos Moyano was a player to have underlined himself in the strongest possible way that season but was not selected for Rugby World Cup 2011. He was overlooked after having been injured in the post season and because Phelan opted for Juan Imhoff to join Horacio Agulla, Gonzalo Camacho and Lucas González Amorosino as the wingers. In 2012, however, it is likely that this will all change as Argentina now, at long last, will have a similar schedule as other first tier sides. It means more players will be needed as the season will be significantly longer and naturally there will be a need to replace injured or underperforming players. But, Martín Bustos Moyano is no longer a fringe player. He is a permanent first choice player for a strong performing team in France. He has been having a better season than Argentina´s World Cup right winger, Gonzalo Camacho and provides solid cover at fullback.

Bustos Moyano´s credentials also, importantly, include goalkicking. Argentina lost it´s World Cup  match vs England  because of goalkicking. Felipe Contepomi was off target and then injured with Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga also not able to find the mark. The pattern continued throughout Argentina´s campaign with far too many kicking going wide of the posts. Felipe Contepomi will be 35 during The Rugby Championship. Whether or not he does play, it is likely to be his final season for his country. Argentina does have alternative goalkicking options including Marcelo Bosch, Santiago Fernández, Lucas González Amorosino, Juan Martín Hernández and Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga. All are professionals for big European teams but none are as good at goalkicking as Bustos Moyano. The traditional policy of chosing a best team and then chosing a goal kicker from the team is likely to continue but should Bustos Moyano start it will be for more than just his kicking accuracy. 

Week Three: Marcelo Bosch
Week Four: Agustín Creevy
Week Five: Juan Martín Hernández 
Week Six: Martín Bustos Moyano
Week Seven: Leonardo Senatore


  1. He should have made the RWC instead of Gosio in my opinion

    by the way there is a video of him getting some hard kicks against Brive in a post I made once