Friday, January 11, 2013

Retro Friday - Lions scrum suffers against Argentina

Felipe Contepomi captained Argentina

As 2013 is half way between two Rugby World Cup tournaments it is a year of great menaing for the Home Unions. The British and Irish Lions will tour Australia playing three tests matches in the middle of the year looking for the first tour win since 1997 when the Lions completed a series win against South Africa. Since then the British and Irish Lions have won matches but not a series. The 2001 tour of Australia saw the series begin very well from the perspective of the Home Unions as the visitors played very well to humble the then World Champion Wallabies in the first test in Brisbane. The match included one of the best tries of the decade scored by Brian O´Driscoll. Australia recovered to win the second and third tests while 2005 and 2009 were very forgettable as the home sides of New Zealand and South Africa were outplayed and returned home far from happy. 

The 2005 tour started with a rare home fixture as the Millennium Stadium hosted the British and Irish Lions v Argentina in May 2005. Argentina had a depleted side due to the scheduling of the match coinciding with the Heineken Cup Final and also being outside of the mandatory release windows for international rugby. As such Marcelo Loffreda was not able to call upon regular props  including Omar Hasan, Rodrigo Roncero and Martín Scelzo. Instead he played the then Castres prop Mauricio Reggiardo who had retured from test duty and Federico Méndez who had played hooker at Rugby World Cup 2003 as the starting props. Despite the missing players some genuine first choice players were available such as Felipe Contepomi, José Mario Nuñez Piossek and Mario Ledesma. Ledesma started at hooker to give the visitors a a very experienced frontrow and one that gave the home team a real lesson as Argentina won three scrums against the head. 

1 comment:

  1. Reggiardo was hauled out of international retirement for this match. And Mendez was at the veteran stage as well.

    They were both legends of the Pumas and this game was a fitting send off for them, and Argentina were very unlucky not to have won, which they would have deserved to.

    I wonder whether this fixture will ever happen again now that Argentina are in the Rugby Championship?