27 year old winger, Gonzalo Camacho is a player to watch out for this year for Los Pumas. The Exeter Chiefs winger has been a starter for the Aviva Premiership team all season and carries the misleading statistic of not scoring a try at all for the club since his arrival following Rugby World Cup 2011. The Chiefs signed him in what was a major coup for the club considered as big one of the most likely for relegation to the second division. His arrival, however, has proven to be good for him and for the club. Despite only having scored one try thus far he has been a constant threat in attack and despite his small stature he has been like a brick wall in defence.
|Camacho in Dubai 2009|
The rise of Camacho into Los Pumas was no easy road. As an amateur player in Buenos Aires his chance came while playing Rugby Sevens for his country. He had come through the Argentine system and emerged as a Pumas player at the right time - just as the IRB were waking up to the need to help the UAR go professional. It took Argentina´s performance at Rugby World Cup 2007 to alert the sports gobal governing body and Gonzalo Camacho was a young player who was quickly selected and prepared by the PladAR system. While the system was coming together, Camacho made his test debut, scoring two tries vs Uruguay in March 2008. he earned his second test cap latter that year and scored a try vs Chile. His big break, however, did not come in 2008 but the following year and from Sevens rugby rather than rugby union. Camacho was in Argentina´s Sevens team and was a key player. He was a part of the team that finished second in the 2009 World Cup in Dubai. His performances had attracted the interests of scouts and English side, the Harlequins signed him no a two year deal starting in August 2009.
|Camacho evades Chris Robshaw|
With Argentina missing players to injury and the form of some not being what it perhaps should have been, Santiago Phelan, named Camacho in his squad for the June 2009 internationals vs England. Camacho started both tests on the right wing, scoring a try in the home match at Salta. The try was a finalist for the IRB Try of the year. It underlined his potential as a player who could go on to start for Argentina at the World Cup. It also saw him give English rugby fans an indication of his abilities. Two months after helping Argentina to a test victory he was in London with the Harlequins. He was expected to start on the wing for Argentina in the November 2009 international tour of England, Wales and Scotland but he missed out due to injury. He also missed Argentina´s home series in June 2010 and had to wait until November 2010 to make his return to the international stage. He started vs Italy and France and put in solid performances to underline his credentials.
|Camacho lifts the Amlin Challenge Cup|
After seeing out his two year deal, Camacho was signed by Exeter despite the Harlequins eagerness to resign the Pumas winger. He played for the Harlequins for two seasons, with the 2010-2011 season being his better one as he recieved significantly more game time and had also secured the Pumas 14 shirt as his own. Camacho wrote his name in the history books in his final match for the club as he scored the only try of the 2011 Amlin Challenge Cup Final to give the London side a championship title, defeating Paris´ Stade Français. His impressive season cemented his place in the starting XV for Argentina for World Cup year and he, indeed, went on to be the teams starting right winger in Los Pumas´ key matches as he started all three crunch matches - vs England and Scotland in the group phase and vs New Zealand in the Quarter Final.
|Camacho tackles Ben Foden|
Despite not scoring a try at the World Cup, Camacho was an important player for Los Pumas. It was his defence that seemed to leave the biggest impression as he showed the world that it does not take a big mane to put in a big tackle. His tackles vs England´s Ben Foden and New Zealand´s Richie McCaw were amongst the best of the tournament. He was able to shut down defences and see to it that Argentina would not be leaking tries down his side of the field. Teams tried hard to attack him but were unable to as he was able to keep big name players from England, Scotland and New Zealand at bay.
His defence may well be what works out for him this year as Camacho´s place in Argentina´s starting XV is being challenged by the performances of Martín Bustos Moyano and Juan Imhoff in France and regular Pumas left winger, Horacio Agulla in England. All players are certain to feature for their country this year with Argentina having a much larger schedule that in previous years. The form and depth of Pumas wingers could well give the team an edge compared to Argentine teams of the past.
Week One: Juan Manuel Leguizamón
Week Two: Lucas González Amorosino
Week Three: Marcelo Bosch
Week Four: Agustín CreevyWeek Eight: Rodrigo Roncero
Week Nine: Gonzalo Camacho
Week Ten: Patricio Albacete