Thursday, September 20, 2012

Southern Kings may open up opportunities for Argentines to play Super Rugby

Southern Kings captain
Luke Watson
Whilst in Europe the teams are filled with players from a large amount of nations, in the Southern Hemisphere opportunities for foreigners to play professional rugby has been rare, with the New Zealand, Australia and South African Super Rugby teams not normally having many foreigners in their squads.

Only a few of Argentines have played Super Rugby. Juan Martín Hernández had a brief injury curtailed stay with the Sharks, Eusebio Guiñazu made a few bench appearances for the Stormers, Federico Méndez had a successful stint with the Sharks, and Patricio Noriega played for the Waratahs after committing to playing for Australia.
Federico Méndez in
Natal colours

However now there could be an opportunity for more Argentines to play Super Rugby from next year as the South African side the Southern Kings who are to be added in place of the Lions next year revealed they are in talks "with several" Argentines.

Like the Lions who they are replacing, the Kings are highly tipped to struggle in Super Rugby next year, with their side not even in the top Currie Cup division, so it makes sense that they may want to boost their side with some Argentines, especially as now the Pumas have got to more prominence in the country thanks to their entry into what was the Tri Nations.

South Africa has helped
Argentina with initiatives
like the Pampas XV.
The other SANZAR nations
should follow this example.
The news that some Argentines may get a chance to play Super Rugby comes as a welcome boost, as the Super Rugby season is a lot more convenient to fit in with the Pumas new international schedule. A few Pumas have lost their European contracts as a result, and this could be an opportunity to remain playing and training at a high level for them.

Again it seems South Africa is proving to be by the far the most supportive of the SANZAR nations towards Argentina. They firstly allowed a side made of Argentines to compete in the Vodacom Cup to give an opportunity to Argentines without pro clubs to play at a higher level with the Pampas XV, who have been a success and now may be added to the Currie Cup. And now may be allowing more Argentines to join a Super Rugby team. The other members of SANZAR (Australia and New Zealand) should take note as to how South Africa is lending a hand to nations who don't have as high standard of domestic competition.

Here are a few available players who Super Rugby sides may be interested in.

Manuel Carizza (27 caps) - The lock has done well so far in the Rugby Championship and been a reliable figure in the pack, he was released by Biarritz at the end of last season due to him deciding to play for the Pumas and despite being linked to a few sides failed to find a club for the new season.

Manuel Carizza Manuel Carizza of Argentina lines up prior to the rugby union international friendly match between Wales and Argentina at the Millennium Stadium on August 20, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Manuel Carizza
Eusebio Guiñazu (22 caps) - The very versatile front row player has previous experience of South Africa with the Stormers, and despite being part of a woeful set piece in the June internationals has recovered to an improved lineout in the Rugby Championship. He is available after like Carizza being released by Biarritz.

Tomás Cubelli (10 caps) - He may not be the preferred choice at scrum half by Phelan (who doesn't really play many youngsters in his team), but Cubelli was seen as one of the standouts in the Pampas XV's Vodacom Cup campaign this year. Two other scrum halves also available are Agustín Figuerola and Martín Landajo.

Manuel Montero (6 caps) - The large Rougerie-like winger and youngest member of the Pumas Rugby Championship squad, who scored the winning try for the Pumas reserve side that defeated France could be a good asset galloping down the hard South African pitches.

Tomás de la Vega (5 caps) - An flanker who impressed in the Argentine reserves victory over France, would be another available player who the Kings should look at.


  1. Argentine players are notorious for knowing how to play as a team and more than comfortable as underdogs and against the odds....its in our DNA....the character McGyver is argentine....we have a saying in Argentina when we are against the wall and we run out of options..."i dont know what im going to do, but im Argentine and i'll invent a solution"....the lions match just before going away on tour to play in the Southern Hemisphere (what year ?)....the Pumas squad was a last minute thing with none of our best players playing in Europe....some came out of retirement to put on the jersey against Wilkinson and his compadres....what is funny seeing the game now is the contrast of the sculpted physiques of the pro's and the beautiful couragious fatties playing for Argentina....Rugby Argentino .... gotta love it !!!!

  2. as far as the rivalry between rugby versus soccer its a very interesting cultural phenomenom that is still developing and much fun to watch and even participate in….there’s definitely tension but it’s a really health tension between the two….i think both can benefit and most definitely the public in general….for starters there is a huge cultural gap between the two and where one has always existed in a hyper professional context…. the other has developed in a cocoon of almost fanatical guardianship of a cherished amateur culture…. to the point where players who played abroad were once not allowed to play for the Pumas….I think the future of Argentine rugby is kinda the sky is the limit to tell the truth from my perspective….the traditional infrastructure that is built in at the club level is more than ready to receive this kind of input and attention from Sanzar and Irb…..i have no idea what took so long to figure it out….there isn’t a more ideal launching platform for international rugby at the moment than Argentina….it has energised the sport across the whole continent….just the other week Colombia upset heavily favored Venezuela and made a huge jump in the rankings for example….its really an all round beautiful story where everyone wins….such a rare thing these days….my hope is that Super Rugby Clubs start developing relationships with Argentine clubs and we can develop our young base faster than at the moment….we would loooooove an affirmative action plan to have Sanzar teams open a couple of spots for us in Super Rugby so we can level the playing field a little more during the 4N’s cause its not fair so far….its asking too much of us to give you guys that kind of handicap and still be competitive as we are still doing anywayl….and then the other no brainer for IRB i think is to make Argentina be the host for 2023 Rugby World Cup…. good article….Cheers everyone !!!!

    1. The thing is that giving it to Argentina is like having it both ways in the best of two worlds that the IRB is already alternating between now: taking care of traditional nations - and then going to a new region to expand the game.

      With Argentina you’d be giving it to a traditional rugby nation - and way overdue for receiving the honor- and on the other hand from a marketing perspective it’b be like a Livingston expedition into terra incognita looking for the source of the Nile.

      Wonderful Story !!!! World media will eat it up tied to a huge amount of rugby progress happening across all demographics and nations in the Americas all the way to Mexico, where there was huge excitement this year at the chance to inaugurate the world cup qualification matches.

      Thing is: strike while its hot !!!! The Pumas are hot now. When friends in different nations of the Americas get together to watch the Pumas play in the world cup, like is happening since 2007, then thats how you know. Ride the momentoum and don't wait 15 years. Do the market studies = Argentina world cup 2023 "no brainer". I agree !

  3. The comment about NZ and Australian Super teams not being welcoming is an ignorant one.

    There are two good reasons why Argentine players and other foreign players aren't seen in NZ or Australian super teams.

    One is that they have less money compared to the South African teams.

    And secondly, most of the Australian and NZ teams are controlled centrally by their national unions. The NZRFU and ARFU don't want to be paying wages to non-NZ/non-Australian players. Conversely the clubs in Europe are privately owned and therefore the owners can choose whoever they like. If the NZRFU and ARFU were to allow at least part-private ownership then that would open up things for at least some foreign players. Right now the only team that has part-private control is the Melbourne Rebels and like the Kings they are the bottom end of the table so would be the most likely to take on foreign players. I am surprised they haven't taken on some Argentine forwards to stiffen their forward pack in the time they have already been in existence.

    I'm a Hurricanes fan and we are always a little bit weak in the tight five, particularly locks. I wish Manuel Carizza was playing for us next year!

    1. The New Zealand teams have decided not to renew contracts of players who decided to play for a Pacific Islander nation.

      The NZRU not wanting to pay wages for non-NZ qualified players, in my opinion makes them unwelcome.

      I doubt a player as suggested above would be that expensive to them either.

    2. Back up a minute.

      Wales and Scotland pay the players. Tomás Vallejos plays for Scarlets. Aramburu, Lozada, Leonelli and other Pumas played in Scotland.

    3. Sorry but I'm pretty sure the Welsh and Scottish unions don't pay out salaries to foreign players. While they back their teams, I'm sure there's also private money as well.

      Put a few foreign players together and the cost certainly does add up and quite rightly why should a national union use its money to develop a player from another country? Put it this way, if Argentina gets a Super rugby team from 2015-16 that the UAR covers the cost on, should the UAR pay out of their money to develop a Uruguayan/Chilean/Brazilian player? If the UAR controls a super team don't expect that team to have foreign players either unless there is private backing that is happy to pay the costs of having foreign players in the squad.

      Of course there is another way. And that is the UAR paying the wages of its players to play Super rugby. So basically the players would be contracted to the UAR and subcontracted to super teams. I'm sure that if the UAR was paying Carizza's wages rather than the NZRFU/ARFU you might find lots more NZ or Australian interest in him and other Argentine players.

    4. Both Wales and Scotland pay players playing for the teams. The WRU pays the players contracts. Ity gests its money from sponsors and profits from home matches and general tv contracts. The four regions have a salary cap of £3.5million each and, yes, Tomás Vallejos Cinalli is contracted to the Scarlets with the WRU paying his wages.

    5. Well Ok so they do. That's their business if they want to spend their money on foreign players. But as far as myself and most NZ and Australian fans are concerned we want the money we and our union put into the game to develop our own players, not the opposition's so my point still stands. I'd love to have some foreign players in NZ and Australian super teams but not off the NZRFU/ARFU's back.

      The NZRFU and ARFU do need to bring in some private money to better capitalise their teams but it's a delicate balancing act because they don't want to lose control (rightly) over player availability. The NZRFU looked at private partnerships last year but their effort was pathetic because they didn't offer anything worthwhile to get any private investors interested. They need to try again and do it properly the next time.

      And again the UAR has already started contracting players. In my opinion they should start looking to contract some of the top players currently in Europe with an eye to getting them in Super teams. As I said before, if the NZRFU/ARFU don't have to pay the Argentine players wages they will be much more receptive to the idea of having some Argentine players in their teams.

  4. I must admit that enjoy reading this article as much as the various comments that has been made here.

    Yes! I do agree that it's time for SANZAR Super teams to open their doors to Argentine players. I'm sure this is all beneficial to the development of Argentine rugby.

    But I still do wish that our players will also keep moving on to Europe to play club rugby over there. Why?

    Simple! To learn the best of both, Northern & Southern rugby. Imagine what type of hybrid brand of rugby Argentina would be playing having a pool players from both worlds?

    I can only see the future is bright for us and the day will come where the headline in the newspaper would read "LOS PUMAS CHAMPIONS OF SANZAR RUGBY"

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