Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Los Pumas Squad for November announced

Photo: ESPN Scrum 18 year old Santiago Cordero named in squad to face Wales

Los Pumas headcoach, Santiago Phelan has sprung some surprizes in naming a squad of 39 players for Argentina´s three match tour of Europe next month. The first surprize is the size of the squad. It is much larger than traditional squads for November tours with the UAR´s new found revenue stream from the Rugby Championship clearly being invested in player development. The reason for the size of the squad is that Phelan will be naming a list of 27 players for each match and narrowing it down on match day. In previous tours Phelan and coaches before him had tended to take a 30 man squad of less. Phelan´s squad that toured Italy, France and Ireland in November 2010 had 31 players which became 30 following the injury forced withdrawal of Juan Martín Hernández.

The second notable surprize is the non-selection of Felipe Contepomi. The 35 year old veteran of four Rugby World Cup´s has not been selected which therefore unofficially ends his international career. He will nonetheless be playing but for Stade Français. With former Stade Français prop Rodrigo Roncero now retired from all rugby it means the squad no longer featured any starting players from Tier One matches from Rugby World Cup 1999 or 2003. Contepomi has not been selected due to the squad having sufficient depth in the positions of flyhalf and inside centre. Also notable is the non-selection of Santiago Fernández to face Wales in the tours first match. The Montpellier back is in the squad but will not feature at all against the Welsh. Nor will Lucas González Amorosino, Martín Bustos Moyano or Juan Pablo Orlandi. All three played a lot in The Rugby Championship. 

With Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga injured the non-selection of González Amorosino and Bustos Moyano for Wales is very interesting. It means Argentina will have a new fullback. There are multiple contenders based on the 27 players named. The two specialists are Joaquin Tuculet who played against Italy in the position in June before moving to outside centre to face France in the second of Argentina´s three home tests that month. Tuculet moved from the Sale Sharks to Grenoble in the off season and has been recieving plenty of game time in France for the overperforming former Pro d2 club. The other specialist is 18 year Santiago Cordero. His selection completes a phenomenal past few months which has seen him make the Semi Finals for the IRB Junior World Championship, setting up an impressive try against France and going on to play for Argentina in the IRB World Sevens Series in Australia. Either Tuculet or Cordero will start at fullback or Phelan will make a positional change with one of Horacio Agulla, Marcelo Bosch, Juan Martín Hernández or Juan Imhoff playing in the position.

The third surprize is not such a big one - the return of Gonzalo Tiesi. As reported in September here on Rugby World Cup Argentina 2023 Tiesi was likely to be seriously considered for a return to international duty in November. His inclusion may well see a noticable change as he is the only specialist outside centre named in the 27 man squad to face Wales. The other centre is Marcelo Bosch who is a flyhalf that Phelan and Biarritz has used at 13 due to the needs of the team. Now though a potential combination of Bosch and Tiesi together in the centres would appear a strong bet at the Millenium Stadium. Should it not occur it would be due to a 10-12 combination of Juan Martín Hernández and Nicolás Sánchez. The two being the flyhalves named in the 27 man squad. 

There are no real surprizes on the wings with Horacio Agulla, Gonzalo Camacho and Juan Imhoff being joined by the young and promising Manuel Montero. They are the same four from The Rugby Championship in which Phelan started Agulla and Camacho for all six games with Imhoff on the bench. Montero played agaisnt Italy and France in June. There are also no changes at scrumhalf with the same four from The Rugby Championship being retained. Tomás Cubelli could well recieve game time after missing out altogether in The Rugby Championship. The new brand of rugby that Phelan is looking for is more suited to Cubelli than to Nicolás Vergallo who lost his starting spot to Martín Landajo midway through the tournament. 

The surprizes are not limited to the forwards. As reported yesterday in the Amlin Challenge Cup wrap Stade Français´s Juan Cruz Guillemaín is a future Puma. Like Cordero he was playing for Los Pumitas earlier this year and is now looking like being a genuine candidate to start for Argentina at Rugby World Cup 2015. he will not, however feature against Wales. Instead Phelan has only named Patricio Albacete and Manuel Carizza in the squad for that particular match. They will continue their secondrow combination with Julio Farías Cabello providing cover either from the backrow or off the bench. Phelan has named two others -  Esteban Lozada and Tomás Vallejos Cinalli. There is still no place for World Cup Puma Mariano Galarza who underwent surgery and has missed the entire international season.

The non-selection of Guillemaín, Lozada or Vallejos Cinalli means that Phelan will continue to field two backrowers on the bench like he did for five of the six matches in The Rugby Championship. H has named six backrowers to face Wales with four of them being from Los Pampas XV. The veteran pair of Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe are certain to start with Julio Farías Cabello in theory being likely to start at 6. This scenario is far from conclusive however due to the performance of Tomás De La Vega for Argentina against France in Córdoba in June. He could very well be selected to start which would enable the slower Farías Cabello to be a genuine replacement in the secondrow. The two other backrowers as Tomás Leonardí and Leonardo Senatore. Leonardí had a fine performance for his country from the bench in The Rugby Championship. He is certain to be in thwe match day squad, likely as a replacement. The squad also features Racing Métro´s Alvaro Galindo who will not face Wales. 

The retirement of Rodrigo Roncero has seen Phelan name two props who were not a part of The Rugby Championship. Biarritz´s Francisco Goméz Kodela has returned after featuring for Argentina in June while there is a debut place for Montpellier´s recent medical joker signing, Nahuel Lobo. Goméz Kodela joins Juan Figallo and Marcos Ayerza in the squad tof ace Wales while Lobo will not feature. Completing the props are tighthead props Maximilano Bustos and Juan Pablo Orlandi. There are three hookers in the squad - the same three from The Rugby Championship. Agustín Creevy ended up being the replacement to Eusebio Guiñazú after he fractured a rib against Stade Français in a warm up match for The Rugby Championship. His chance at jumping out of the shadow of Mario Ledesma would appear to be here as he should start against Wales with Guiñazú proving cover from the bench.

Curiously, Phelan has named a maximum of two Pumas per French club in his squad to face Wales. The match will be played on the same weekend as a round of the Top 14. As such there are likely to be a host of changes for Argentina´s match against France in Lille. 

Squad to face Wales
Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers, England)
Juan Figallo (Montpellier, France)
Francisco Goméz Kodela (Biarritz, France)

Agustín Creevy (Montpellier, France)
Eusebio Guinãzú (unattached)
Bruno Postiglino (Los Pampas XV)

Patricio Albacete (Toulouse, France)
Manuel Carizza (unattached)

Tomás De La Vega (Los Pampas XV)
Julio Farías Cabello (Los Pampas XV)
Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (Toulon, France)
Juan Manuel Leguizamón (Lyon OU, France)
Tomás Leonardí (Los Pampas XV)
Leonardo Senatore (Los Pampas XV)

Tomás Cubelli (Los Pampas XV)
Nicolás Vergallo (unattached)
Martín Landajo (Los Pampas XV)

Juan Martín Hernández (Racing Métro, France)
Nicolás Sánchez (Bordeaux-Begles, France)

Marcelo Bosch (Biarritz, France)
Gonzalo Tiesi (SIC)

Horacio Agulla (Bath, England)
Gonzalo Camacho (Exeter Chiefs, England)
Juan Imhoff (Racing Métro, France)
Manuel Montero (Los Pampas XV)

Santiago Cordero (Regatas)
Joaquin Tuculet (Grenoble, France)

Possible XV to face Wales

1 Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers, England)
2 Agustín Creevy (Montpellier, France)
3 Juan Figallo (Montpellier, France)
4 Manuel Carizza (unattached)
5 Patricio Albacete (Toulouse, France)
6 Tomás De La Vega (Los Pampas XV)
7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón (Lyon OU, France)
8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (Toulon, France)
9 Martín Landajo (Los Pampas XV)
10 Juan Martín Hernández (Racing Métro, France)
11 Juan José Imhoff (Racing Métro, France)
12 Nicolás Sánchez (Bordeaux-Begles, France)
13 Marcelo Bosch (Biarritz, France)
14 Gonzalo Camacho (Exeter Chiefs, England)
15 Joaquin Tuculet (Grenoble, France)

16 Eusebio Guiñazú (unattached)
17 Francisco Goméz Kodela (Biarritz, France)
18 Julio Farías Cabello (Los Pampas XV)
19 Tomás Leonardí (Los Pampas XV)
20 Tomás Cubelli (Los Pampas XV)
21 Gonzalo Tiesi (SIC)
22 Santiago Cordero (Regatas)

Additional Squad Members
Maximilano Bustos (Montpellier, France)
Nahuel Lobo (Montpellier, France)
Juan Pablo Orlandi (Racing Métro, France)

Juan Cruz Guillemáin (Stade Français, France)
Esteban Lozada (Agen, France)
Tomás Vallejos Cinalli (Scarlets, Wales)

Alvaro Galindo (Racing Métro, France)

Agustín Figuerola (Brive, France)

Rafael Carballo (Bordeaux-Begles, France)
Santiago Fernández (Montpellier, France)

Martín Bustos Moyano (Montpellier, France)
Lucas González Amorosino (Montpellier, France)


  1. "The new brand of rugby that Phelan is looking for"

    What? Phelan hardly played a new style of rugby in the Rugby Championship and his selections were very conservative.

    Odd way of selecting squad. I think you may have been right on the money about noticing that there is only a maximum of two players per club. I think there must have been some sort of deal done with Montpellier to not include so many. Amorosino would have been in the squad otherwise, however he should be in the squad for the latter two matches. Bustos also should be ahead of Gómez Kodela who didn't impress against Italy and France in June.

    Why does Phelan hate Mieres so much? He doesn't even make the larger squad.

    By the way, Albacete and Hernández played at RWC 2003, and remember there are 23 man squads now.

    This would be my team to play Wales.

    1. Ayerza
    2. Creevy
    3. Figallo
    4. Carizza
    5. Albacete
    6. de la Vega
    7. Leguizamón
    8. Fernández Lobbe
    9. Cubelli
    10. Sánchez
    11. Imhoff
    12. Bosch
    13. Agulla/Tuculet
    14. Camacho/Montero
    15. Hernández

    16. Guiñazu
    17. Postiglioni
    18. Gómez Kodela
    19. Farías Cabello
    20. Leonardi
    21. Landajo
    22. Tiesi
    23. Agulla/Tuculet

    However Phelan being so predictable will probably start Farías Cabello, Tiesi, Guiñazu and leave de la Vega, Cubelli and Imhoff out of the side.

  2. Phelan got Argentina playing differently on the Gold Coast and in La Plata. Much more width and less kicking. It didn´t work so well in Rosario where, curiously, Beale kicked far more often than Hernández.

    Mieres seems to be the victim of being a specialist flyhalf. For instance Hernández is a 10 or a 15, Fernández a 10 or a 12, Sánchez a 10 or a 12 and Bosch a 10, 12, 13 or 15. Nonetheless it is odd to have four scrumhalves but no Mieres.

  3. This idea that phelan 'hates' is just poor use of language to describe a consumate professional like him and who has won the respect and recognition already of not just the rugby community around the world but the top three coaches in the world....

    one of the lovely things about Santiago Phelan is that he is absolutely fearless with the press....often he takes chances and tries new things just because he is thinking ahead to the games he really wants to win....he experiments a lot and if in the process he looses a game or two he knows the experience for him to evaluate and put on the best team possible later when it really matters is invaluable....

    the Pumas are not concerned about world rankings....they just want to improve....we have had plenty of experiences with "death groups" and innauguration games with host nations....jjaja....we laugh at this stuff head on and welcome the challenge....when the time comes we'll be ready....with the best and most ferocious defence and tackles in the world....and now we are going to add some real habanero sauce to our get ready to enjoy the show....i think we are probably about two years away from the fourth ranking in the world....

    Argentina does no lack talent at this flyhalf position unlike other situations at the moment....and surely mieres is a huge talent....but to instigate a controversy here is fruitless....not constructive.... and you leave out of the dabate "el cachorro" who is an amazing talent too and perhaps.... perhaps even our best overall kicker i venture..... sanches also already started one game in the rugby championship against south africa and pretty much established himself as the second option behind Hernandez....

    to those who say phelan is conservative in his selections.... this list should put to rest this other ridicoulous controversy you often and so much like instigate in this site of Puma "lovers"....(it was phelan who called imhoff fresh from vodacom -and raised everyones eyebrows- for the world cup)....and now he has included Cordero who is and has been absolutely
    a m a z i n g during our sevens competition....almost singlehandedly taking down the all blacks....(they were luck to win that semi final)....chupate esa mandarina chabon de cuarta !!!!

    ever yours....your anonymous whistle blower....

    1. Of course I don't literally mean that Phelan hates Mieres. Just he clearly doesn't seem to rate him that highly.

      By the way, Phelan is highly conservative with his selections. He nearly kept entirely the same side from the RWC to play in the Rugby Championship, ignoring the younger form players like de la Vega or Cubelli.

      He also is conservative in his style of play. Selecting unspectacular wingers like Agulla and Camacho ahead of the nations top try scorer.

      Also calling Imhoff into the RWC squad was really obvious, he was just the highest try scorer in the Vodacom Cup and saved Argentina from an embarrassing loss to Worcester. If Phelan had picked Carballo ahead of him for that it would have been ridiculous. If he was to really be bold in selection, then Imhoff should have started at that tournament.

      Cordero is a surprise selection, but he has only been selected for this first match thanks to the two player per club team. I highly doubt Phelan will play him against Wales, and he certainly won't in the latter two matches.