Friday, March 22, 2013

Americas Tour - Events ahead of the weekend

Earlier in the week Felipe Contepomi confirmed that this season will be his last. The former Pumas captain and 79 time capped inside back will have the opportunity to finish his career at home this coming June with him likely to start at inside centre against England and Georgia. Contepomi will leave Stade Français to big his post-rugby career as a doctor in Buenos Aires. He played in four Rugby World Cup´s, featuring in three Quarter Finals and winning Bronze in 2007. That year he was one of four players nominated for IRB Player of the year which was won by South Africa´s Bryan Habana. 

While Contepomi is back for Stade Français after having missed the bulk of the season after badly injurying his knee playing against Wales in November not all players in line for game time in June are fit. 31 year old secondrower Esteban Lozada will not play for Agen this weekend nor in the following two. His club is struggling to avoid relegation. 

One of Contepomi´s major rivals for the flyhalf position in his early days as a Puma was Gonzalo Quesada. At Rugby World Cup 2003 they started together as the 10-12 combination against Ireland after Contepomi had earlier been the flyhalf against Australia and Quesada against Namibia. Four years earlier Quesada was the top points scorer at Rugby World Cup 1999 with Contepomi his replacement on the bench throughout the campaign. Both players went on to play for Stade Français, Contepomi´s current club and Quesada has now been confirmed as the club´s new coach. he will move from Racing Métro to take control of the former French powerhouse club next season. 

There have been fourteen changes named for the Los Pampas XV team to play in round three of the Vodacom Cup this weekend. The only player still in the starting XV is Santiago Cordero who continues to look like a Puma this coming June as he will start for the third time in a row, this time on the left wing. 

Another player in contention for game time in June, Nahuel Lobo, has been cleared by the ERC to play for Montpellier in the Heineken Cup. He could very well start at looshead prop in an all-Argentine front row combination together with Agustín Creevy and Maximilano Bustos. 

The Uruguayan junior team, Los Teritos will start its season this Saturday with a home match against a composition team known as Los Teros XV. The match will take place at the home of Uruguayan rugby, el Charrua in Montevideo.

The international media continues to praise USA Sevens player Carlin Isles. The most recent piece being a feature in The Guardian ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens. The Americas has already made a massive impact on the event with the national Canadian womens team having won the title earlier today. 

A host of Pumas have been named in the starting lineup´s for their English clubs this weekend. Horacio Agulla, Marcos Ayerza, Julio Farías Cabello, Gonzalo Tiesi will all be in action in the round 18 starting today. Many French based players will feature in the Top 14 this weekend, with matches being played on Saturday and Sunday. 

Video of the week
With a host of Argentine players, Italy made history last Saturday by defeating Ireland for the first time since entering the Six Nations Championship in 2000. Sergio Parisse led from the front while Gonzalo Garcia and Luciano Orquera both kicked goals and Gonzalo Canale joined them in the starting backline. 

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