|Photo: UAR Matrtin Seras Lima|
The selection of Nicolás Sánchez at pivot over Juan Martín Hernández came as a surprize to some but not to all. The Bordeaux-Begles flyhalf delivered a strong performance recently in the Amlin Challenge Cup against Gloucester to show he has a full range of skills. It cemented his place in the squad ahead of Ignacio Mieres who has been playing for the Exeter Chiefs both this season and last. Sánchez earned his call up for Rugby World Cup 2011 when he was still based in Argentina. He had impressed in the 2011 Vodacom Cup and as a 23 year old he was called up over Mieres for a place in the qwuad for New Zealand 2011. He feauted in one match, as a replacement against Romania.
This past weekend Sánchez performed very well for Los Pumas. He was starting at flyhalf with Juan Martín Hernández moved to fullback. The change was motivated by the form Sánchez had shown as well as the non-avaliability of Lucas González Amorosino who was playing for Montepellier rather than Argentina on the weekend. Sánchez played the full 80 minutes at flyhalf and outplayed Rhys Priestland who has suffered a drop in form after having been key for Wales at Rugby World Cup 2011 and in the 2012 Six Nations in which Wales won the Grand Slam. Sánchez attempted four dropgoals in the match and landed two of them. He also, importantly, was successful with wide conversion attempts as he converted his country´s two tries. His performance was one to suggest that Argentina have found a flyhalf who can kickgoals. It should well have secured him the Pumas 10 shirt for the remainder of the tour and into the future. He is 24 years old, six years younger than Hernández.