Friday, February 1, 2013

Retro Friday - Martín Scelzo Flattens clubmate Morgan Parra at test level

Scelzo in space v France, 2010
One of the biggest players at Rugby World Cup 2011 was Martín Scelzo. Then aged 35 Scelzo had been overtaken by Juan Figallo as Argentina´s starting tighthead prop. Weighing in at close to 130KG and standing 1.90 metres tall Scelzo was a mountain of a man who was werll known for his tackling. Earlier on in his career he was a highly rated ball carrier but as he got older he was used less to hit up and move to use his weight and strength to clear out rucks. As such most videos showing Martín Scelzo in action tend to involve scrums. 

Scelzo played at four Rugby World Cup´s and was Argentina´s starting tighthead at France 2007. He played his final test in 2011 against New Zealand at the Quarter Final at Eden Park. He retired after having played for Argentina for fifteen years but the lack of tests Argentina had until 2012 meant his total number of international appearances for Los Pumas ended at 59. In contrast, former New Zealand fullback Mils Muliaina eanred his 100th and final cap against Argentina in the Quarter Final but he made his debut in 2003 - seven years after Scelzo debuted against the USA at Nepean. 

Argentina´s 2010 match against France in Buenos Aires was notable for the result as Los Pumas defeated France by a record margin in completing a 41-13 victory. Scelzo started at tighthead prop alongside his 2007 frontrow partners Rodrigo Roncero and Mario Ledesma. Two of them were involved in a move in the twenty-second minute which saw Scelzo advance from halfway until two metres outside of the French 22. Scelzo ran over clubmate Morgan Parra in a tackle which left the scrumhalf hurt. The move started with Felipe Contepomi passing to Ledesma who was tackled in midfield by François Trinh-Duc. Ledesma off-loaded to Gonzalo Tiesi who attracted two defenders and passed to Scelzo on his left. It was Scelzo´s 50th cap for Argentina.

Earlier this week  Parra signed a new two-year contract with Clermont Auvergne. Scelzo and Parra were a part of the 2010 team that won the Top 14. It was Clermont´s first ever title. Scelzo had joined Clermont from Narbonne in 2004 and after seven years at the club he moved to Agen where he ended his professional rugby career before returning to Buenos Aires. Scelzo played for Narbonne from 2001-2004. It was his second club and his first in France. He has earlier played in England for the Northampton Saints from 1999-2001 and was a Heineken Cup winner in the 1999-2000 season. 

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