Monday, August 6, 2012

The Rugby Championship Players to Watch - Tomás Vallejos

While Santiago Phelan selected a 34 man squad for The Rugby Championship the number of secondrowers he selected is relatively low with only three specialists. Joining Patricio Albacete and Manuel Carriza is Tomás Vallejos. The 27 year old is well prepared having played the previous five years in Europe. He played three seasons in Italy for Overmach Parma and two in England for the Harlequins with the London based side winning the Avivia Premiership for the first time ever in May 2012. Vallejos´ future as a professional is not in England, but rather Wales as he will play the 2012-13 season for the Scarlets. 

Vallejos has developed as a player in Europe but has only been capped once. He made his test debut at Rugby World Cup 2011 as a replacement against Georgia. The 2012 season, however, is certian to see this number increase significantly as he is set to feature for his country in The Rugby Championship. At Rugby World Cup 2011 Vallejos was the fourth choice secondrower behind Albacete, Carizza and Mariano Galarza. For The Rugby Championship Galarza´ spot has been taken by World Cup backrower Julio Farías Cabello in a reshuffle due to Galarza requiring surgery. As such Vallejos is the prime contender for the Pumas 18 shirt for the duration of the tournament. He has been training very hard with the squad and is pushing hard to earn his place in the team.

His rise to the Pumas came interestingly as his move to England came after he made a request to the Harlequins management to give him a trial. It proved successful as he made the World Cup squad and is ahead of Esteban Lozada who had been looking certain for a place at the World Cup a year or so earlier. Vallejos has developed as a players while in the Aviva Premiership and his move to Wales will likely see him be a regular in the starting lineup. 

Week 03: Marcelo Bosch
Week 04: Agustín Creevy
Week 08: Rodrigo Roncero
Week 09: Gonzalo Camacho
Week 11: Horacio Agulla
Week 12: Juan Figallo
Week 14: Tomás Cubelli 
Week 15: Marcos Ayerza
Week 16: Manuel Carizza
Week 19: Alvaro Galindo
Week 26: Manuel Montero
Week 27: Tomás Vallejos
Week 28: Juan Fernández Lobbe

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