Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tomás Leonardí to play Super Rugby?

Photo: UAR Tomás Leonardí v Australia

South Africa´s new Super Rugby franchise, The Southern Kings, is rumoured to be targetting the signature of 25 year old Argentine international backrower, Tomás Leonardí. The Los Pampas XV backrower would be the third Puma to join the team should the rumour be true. The former French based pair of Nicolás Vergallo and Eusebio Guiñazú have both been confirmed to be joining the team for its debut Super Rugby campaign. The team will be captained by former Springbok backrower, Luke Watson.

The Southern Kings will be based in Port Elizabeth and plays its home matches at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium which is also the home of South Africa´s leg of the IRB World Sevens Series. The team is replacing the Lions who have struggled to be competitive and are the victims of South Africa Rugby´s decision to replace the lowest ranked South African team with the Southern Kings in 2013. It means that Johannesburg, despite being South Africa´s financial capital and largest city, no longer has a Super Rugby team. 

Leonardí has had a big year with Los Pumas. He earned a test recall after being out of favor since 2009 and went on to play against Italy, France, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. His form saw him replace Alvaro Galindo as Santiago Phelan´s first choice for the bench. He will be on the bnehc this weekend for Argentina´s matcha against Wales at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. Starting wiill be Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Leonardo Senatore. All three played in the French Top 14 last season. Leonardí debuted in 2009 against England in place of Leguizamón who was injured. He also started against Wales but was dropped for the third November test against Scotland. He played in all six matches of The Rugby Championship from the bench, scoring a try against Australia. He has played a total of 13 tests for Argentina. 

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