Friday, January 18, 2013

Retro Friday - Esteban Lozada try saving tackle on Ben Cohen

Esteban Lozada goes forward against France in Córdoba, June 2012
Argentina´s 25-18 triumph over England in November 2006 went down in history. It was the first time that Los Pumas had ever defeated England at Twickenham. While Federico Todechini got the headlines  for scoring 22 points thanks to his superb goalkicking and intercept try from a Toby Flood pass the real story was a team playing together with great unity. Argentina had only four days to prepare for the match and it was the first time the players had been together since June. If that was not complicated enough a high number of players needed to be replaced due to injury concerns during the match. This saw Lozada into the game well earlier than expected. Lozada came into the match to earn his first cap from the bench and did so as an amateur. He had come through the URBA competition playing for CASI the previous month and in November saw himself make a vital play by tackling World Cup 2003 winner Ben Cohen to prevent a tackle. The act meant England did not score and instead kicked a penalty. 

Now aged 31, Lozada is playing his rugby for Agen in the French Top 14. It is his fourth professional club after he previously spent three years at Toulon from 2007-2010 and two in Edinburgh from 2010-2012. His move to Agen has been successful with Lozada playing in eleven of the fifteen rounds so far in the Top 14 season. Ten of them were in the starting fifteen and he could well have started all fifteen matches had it not been for injury and suspension. His move to Edinburgh was an attempt of getting more game time after he played only 8 games for Toulon in the 2009-2010 season. At the same time Lozada was being overtaken by Manuel Carizza in international colors and he was also underthreat from Mariano Galarza and Tomás Vallejos Cinalli. 

Lozada remains outside of the Senior squad that plays in The Rugby Championship but he is still in the selectors eyes. In June 2012 he featured against Italy and France, earning his 19th cap in Tucumán. He could very well play again in June 2013 against England and Georgia. The incoming tour will see a host of professional players rested ahead of The Rugby Championship due to an agreement between the UAR and the LNR and Premier Rugby. As such Patricio Albacete and Manuel Carizza are certain to not feature while other secondrowers such as Tomás Vallejos Cinalli and Juan Cruz Guillemaín could also miss out. This being the case then the chances of Lozada getting more test time are all the more likely. 

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