Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Urdapilleta continues to press for a Pumas start in June

Photo: ESPN Scrum
Sitting pretty at the top of the Pro d2 is Oyonnax. The club from near the Swiss border looks set to win promotion to the Top 14 next season as it is on 82 competition points after twenty-one rounds. It has won eighteen matches, lost three and has had one draw. With the winner of the Pro d2 winning automatic promotion to the Top 14 the chances of Oyonnax playing in the Top 14 are very high. In second place are La Rochelle and Pau who are tied on 66 competition points. Aurillac have 61 and Brive 59. As it stands these four clubs are in line to play in the Semi Finals with the winner of the final advancing along with Oyonnax. 

Key to the success of Oyonnax this season has been Argentina´s Benjamin Urdapilleta. The 26 yeard old from Buenos Aires has been playing very well and has, importantly, been getting lots of game time. He made the move to France´s second division from English champions, the Harlequins whom he struggled to start for and was used mostly out of position at outisde centre. For Oyonnax he has been playing in his favorite position of flyhalf, the position in which he is in line to be used by Santiago Phelan this coming June. Urdapilleta has played eight times for Argentina but never for a sfull strength side. He started against France in Tucumán in June 2012 after Exeter´s Ignacio Mieres had started the first two tests of the month. The two are likely to feature again in June 2013 and at this stage Urdapilleta appears to have the upper hand as he has been playing much more and playing for a winning team.

Oyonnax´s 32-5 bonus point victory this past weekend featured Urdapilleta at flyhalf and he had a good performenace kicking four goals. Other Argentine who featured in the Pro d2 this past weekend are Juan Leguizamón who started for Lyon, Gabriel Bocca played tighthead prop for Beziers, Franco Pani was on the bench for La Rochelle and Pablo Henn who was on the bench for Brive. Chile´s Pablo Huerte started for Pau.


  1. Phelan doesn't rate Ignacio Mieres (there was a very good argument to start him last year ahead of Sanchez who hadn't played much at Bordeaux) so I guess he will be ignored for the main Puma team and play in June.

    González Iglesias is another option who I have been impressed with playing for Jaguars in Nations Cup. Could put his name forward with good performances for the Pampas XV.

    And of course, there is a chance if fit these matches could be farewell tests for Pumas legend Felipe Contepomi. Any word on whether he may play in these as farewell tests? If he does, then he certainly deserves a good send off.

    Many feel Mieres has been wrongly frozen out at Exeter by the way, just because a few missed kicks early season, he's still a much better ball player than Steenson, just compare their results with the two different fly halves. I hope he does well at Worcester.

    A shame that players can't play both June and RC. I would have liked to see Rodríguez experimented at 13.

    1. Contepomi will play in June (if fit) and play at inside centre. He has made it clear to Argentine sources that 2013 will be the end of his career and he wants to bow out by playing at home.

      MRG is now fit ad will be available for Stade Français´s next match.

      Incidently the new deal Mieres has with Worcester will enable himm to play in TRC and he may well be in the squad in palce of either MRG or LGA as with Hernández now playing fullback and Santiago Cordero and Joaquín Tuculet both in favor there will could well be some surprizes. I would expect one of the two to feature in June alongside Bustos Moyano.