Friday, December 7, 2012

Retro Friday - Contepomi Twins magic v Wales, 2004

Starting today Rugby World Cup Argentina 2023 will be running a new weekly feature called Retro Friday. It will feature past action from rugby teams and players from the Americas. The purpose is to  celebrate past glory and to remind readers of the strength of Argentina hosting Rugby World Cup 2023. Argentina would be hosting on behalf of all rugby playing nations in the Americas. Argentina is the only Semi Finalist in Rugby World Cup history that has not hosted a Rugby World Cup match. The IRB defined region known as the Americas also included Canada, Uruguay and the United States of America. Of these all have played at Rugby World Cup´s and have completed victories. Canada has played at every Rugby World Cup and has been a Quarter Finalist. As such Retro Friday will showcase not only Argentina but others throughout South and North America. 

Manuel and Felipe Contepomi
To get the ball rolling is a fabulous try scored by former Argentine centre Manuel Contepomi against Wales in Tucumán in June 2004. It was the first of a two match home series and was the start of Argentina´s rebuilding phase after the  disappointment of  Rugby World Cup 2003 in which Argentina was eliminated by Ireland after losing their pool clash 16-15 in Adelaide. Many players featured for the final time and 2004 was all about creating the platform to impress at France 2007. The Contepomi twins formed a 10-12 combination with Gonzalo Quesada having played his final test in Adelaide. They were aged 27 at the time and would go on to be Argentina´s 12-13 combination at Rugby World Cup 2007. Both players scored tries in the 50-44 win over Wales at Tucumán with Felipe Contepomi scoring 25 points in total. Manuel´s try was one of his finest. It came from good forward momentum in which Argentina was well inside the Welsh 22. Agustín Pichot fed Felipe Contepomi who ran a ghood angle to attract two defenders and put Manuel through a gap. From there Manuel handed off an attempted tackle from Welsh backrower Jason Forster and went between fullback Rhys Williams and inside centre Gavin Henson.  

Manuel retired from Los Pumas after Rugby World Cup 2007 with his 38th and final test appearance being Argentina´s Brone Final triumph over Les Bleus in Paris. Felipe has not officially retired but there are questions over his future involvement. He did not play in The Rugby Championship and was not selected in Santiago Phelan´s original squad for the November Internationals in 2012 but he nevertheless got a late call up and started against Wales. His appearance at the Millennium Stadium was short lived as he suffered a serious knee injury in the 12th minute. He started at inside centre in that match as Santiago Fernández and Marcelo Bosch were both unavailable due to club commitments in France. Felipe started in the same position against Italy and France in June 2012 due to Argentina having rested twenty-four players ahead of The Rugby Championship. The possibility exists for Felipe to play against Georgia and England in June 2013. If so it would surely be the end of his international career which started in 1998. He has 79 caps for Argentina. 

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