Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Rugby Championship Players to Watch - Maximilano Bustos



Rugby World Cup 2011 brought about the end of an era for Argentine rugby. It marked the end of the period of the trio of Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma and Martín Scelzo as Los Pumas´ frontrow combination. The three formed the frontrow at Rugby World Cup 2007 and were widely regarded as being the best frontrow of the tournament. The trio contributed massively to Argentina´ Bronze Medal in France and, without their on field efforts, its safe to say that getting Argentina into a Tier One tournament would have been extremely difficult. With age no longer on their side, however, Ledesma and Scelzo retired from international duty following the Quarter Final loss vs New Zealand while Roncero looks set to end his career in the first ever Rugby Championship.

The loss of the above mentioned trio will be hard felt as, with them, the Pumas scrum was extremely competitive and respected as being amongst the best on the planet. There are, however, reasons to fell that Argentina will soon enough have a new well respected combination. Scelzo had the tighthead position taken over by the younger Juan Figallo, with the Montpellier lossehead prop having an outstanding World Cup in the tighthead position and winning the award for being the best player of Pool B in the tournament. Roncero´ position, should he retire before The Rugby Championship, will be taken by Leicester´ Marcos Ayerza who has played 34 tests since debuting in 2004. With Roncero in the team, however, Ayerza has started only 15 of his tests so far. This is all set to change now though as he will join Agustín Creevy and Juan Figallo to form a solid frontrow, and one that should well still be together come Rugby World Cup 2015.

Any good frontrow, however, is only as good as its replacement. Should a player leave the field injured or for the simple reason to give the team fresh legs, then it is paramount that the replacement be a top level performer. This is where Maximilano Bustos comes into consideration for Los Pumas. He went to Rugby World Cup 2011 as one of five props and one of three for the tighthead position. Despite being in the squad, however, Bustos recieved no game time due in large part to the opposition with Argentina facing four of the worlds leading scrums in England, Georgia, Romania and Scotland. He was named in the squad ahead of Juan Orlandi despite being uncapped. His selection came after an impressive year which saw him impress in the Vodacom Cup and earn a contract to play in France for Montpellier. He played 18 matches for the club in his first season, starting on four occasions with the other 14 being from the bench.

While Bustos is yet to win an international cap he has played on eleven occassions in non-internationals for Los Jaguares and Los Pumas from 2009-2011. In 2009 he played in the Americas Rugby Championship against the USA Select XV, the BC Bears and Canada A. In 2010 he played in against Canada Selects, USA Selects and Tonga A for Los Jaguares in the Americas Rugby Championship and toured Russia with Los Jaguares playing both matches. He was selected for Argentina´s tour matches vs Wales and the Worcester Warriors in 201, playing against the second of the two, after having played against the French Barbarians and the CONSUR XV in Los Pumas´ 2011 home matches. In 2012, however, his time has seemingly come as he looks certain to feature as Argentina´ replacement prop on the bench for The Rugby Championship. Bustos comes from the city of Santa Fé.



Week Three: Marcelo Bosch
Week Four: Agustín Creevy
Week Eight: Rodrigo Roncero
Week Nine: Gonzalo Camacho
Week Ten: Patricio Albacete
Week Eleven: Horacio Agulla
Week Twelve: Juan Figallo
Week Thirteen: Santiago Fernández
Week Fourteen: Tomás Cubelli 
Week Fifteen: Marcos Ayerza
Week Sixteen: Manuel Carizza
Week Seventeen: Nicolás Vergallo
Week Eighteen: Juan José Imhoff
Week Nineteen: Alvaro Galindo
Week Twenty: Maximilano Bustos
Week Twenty-One: Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga


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