Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Rugby Championship Players to Watch - Juan Pablo Orlandi

Two years after playing his last test for Argentina, 29 year old tighthead prop, Juan Pablo Orlandi has been recalled by coach Santiago Phelan as part of the 33 man training squad for The Rugby Championship. His recall comes as a surprize as he was left out of the Argentine squad for Rugby World Cup 2011 despite having been in better form for his French club than in the 2011-2012 season. Nonetheless, not only has Phelan recalled him for the training squad but he was named as one of the twenty-four players for The Rugby Championship on June 01 which ruled him out of the international home matches vs Italy and France last month. In selecting Orlandi for The Rugby Championship, Phelan opted to play the younger pair of Francisco Goméz Kodela and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Neither of which will feature in The Rugby Championship.

The Mendoza born Orlandi made his test debut for Argentina in 2008 vs France in Marseilles. He was selected following the retirement of Omar Hasan and the unavaliability of Martín Scelzo and Santiago Gonález Bonorino due to injury. In addition to covering the trio from Rugby World Cup 2011, Los Pumas assistant coach and former Argentine tighthead prop, Mauricio Reggiardo also considered Orlandi highly. The test vs France was Argentina´s first of the November tour which also included tests vs Italy and Ireland. Orlandi started all three at tighthead prop. The following year he retained the shirt with Scezlo again injured, and González Bonorino no longer in the Pumas frame. He started Argentina´ first test of the year, vs England in Manchester but was dropped to the bench for the retun test, in Salta.

The Salta test, in June 2009, was the last time Orlandi played for Los Pumas due to the return of Scelzo and the young and impressive Juan Figallo. At the time of making his test debut, Orlandi was playing his rugby in Italy for Rovigo. He played for the club from 2006-2009 after previously playing for Italian rivals Brescia. He was offered a contract to play in the Top 14 for whom he has played for since 2009. This past season he played 20 Top 14 matches for the club, starting six of them. While in Italy, Orlandi was approached by the FIR to play test rugby for Italy. He almost took up the offer with Italy wanting him for the November 2008 internationals.

While Orlandi missed out on a place at Rugby World Cup 2011, Phelan selected the uncapped Maximilano Bustos. The two are now in competition to be the sides reserve tigththead prop behind Juan Figallo. Marcos Ayerza and Rodrigo Roncero are the squads loosehead props. 

France vs Argentina, Marseilles, 2008

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
Week Twenty-Two: Julio Farías Cabello
Week Twenty-Three: Tomás De La Vega
Week Twenty-Four: Juan Pablo Orlandi
Week Twenty-Five: Nicolás Sánchez

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