Monday, January 21, 2013

Agustín Creevy on top form for Montpellier and looking to regain his Pumas starting position

At the beginning of Argentina's international season in June, it seemed certain that taking the hooker jersey would be Agustín Creevy who had just come off a good first season with Montpellier and had been Mario Ledesma's understudy for the last two years of Ledesma's career. Creevy's name was pretty much inked into the teamsheet with a glaring lack of alternatives at hooker.

But then Creevy suffered a bad dose of bad luck, in the Pumas second warm up game against Stade Français the hooker injured his arm after taking a tackle in the first minute of the match.

(Video: Creevy suffering a 1st minute injury against Stade Français after landing awkwardly in a tackle. The injury cost him his place in the Pumas starting lineup in 2012)

The injury forced Creevy to miss Argentina's first two matches of the Rugby Championship. You would have still thought that Creevy would still return back as he is Argentina's best hooker and there isn't much depth in his position.

But as it happened, Creevy's replacement, Eusébio Guiñazu, an experienced versatile front rower who made his Pumas debut back in 2003 came in and had a good game against the Springboks in Mendoza, playing a part in helping create a try. The fact Guiñazu was actually adequate came as actually quite a surprise as he hadn't really at all impressed in the June internationals.

And after that match in Mendoza Guiñazu kept his place as starting hooker for the rest of the year. And Agustín Creevy who spent two straight seasons in the number 16 jersey on the bench behind Mario Ledesma, spent another season again on the bench. Creevy now has 22 caps for Argentina and not one start at hooker.

Since returning from Pumas duty though, Creevy has again gone back to Montpellier and is back on very good form and is gradually getting a reputation for himself as one of the best few hookers in the Top 14.

In the latest two rounds of Heineken Cup action, against Sale Creevy demonstrated why he is such a good hooker in the loose with his offload drawing in defenders and creating space for his team out wide to score their first try. And then in Montpellier's emotional and important clash with Toulon, Creevy produced a great performance all around and was again phenomenal in the loose and showing some good skills with ball in hand.

However, Creevy has always been excellent in the loose for most of his career, as well as being strong scrummaging as well. He is nearly a complete hooker, but what has always been his weakness as a hooker is the lineout throwing, in a friendly match with the French Barbarians in 2011 where he was captain he notably had a disaster in the lineouts, and also was prone to the odd error in his bench appearances for the Pumas. So what was perhaps more importantly satisfying about Creevy's performance against Toulon was that his lineout throwing seemed to be functioning well. He was named in Planet Rugby's Heineken Cup team of the week this round which acknowledged his performances.

If Creevy can keep that up and continue to improve in that area, then surely he must finally start at hooker for the Pumas ahead of Guiñazu who to be honest I think has dined out on that one run in the Rugby Championship and not repeated that form onwards. Since November Creevy has been producing good form for Montpellier, Guiñazu after signing for Bath hasn't played a single minute yet.

I think if Creevy can continue to keep up his lineout throwing and continue to improve there, then combined to the rest of his game in the loose which is already immense then I think he has what it takes to become one of the best in the international game.

(Video: Creevy creating space for his team with a great offload drawing in Sale defenders)

1 comment:

  1. His form for Montpellier not only makes him Argentina´s leading hooker but also one of the form hookers in the Top 14. Curiously Guiñazú has not played for Bath yet due to breaking a rib in training in the week he arrived there.