Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gonzalo Tiesi to play for Argentina in June?

Photo: UAR
Tiesi reflects on a successful return to test rugby in defeating Wales in 2012
Following the relegation of London Irish from the Aviva Premiership to the RFU Championship the club Chairman Bleddyn Phillips has said he will enable the release of a host of players. Amongst the clubs biggest name players are Pumas Gonzalo Tiesi and Julio Farías Cabello, Canadian Phil MacKenzie, Romanian Paulica Ion, former Welsh international Gavin Henson and fellow Welshman and club captain Jonathan Mills.  As such all of these players could see themselves signed by a rival club or move to play in a different country.  In the case of Farías Cabello it is well known that he will be returning to Argentina for international duty and will not be playing further club rugby in Europe. He was rumoured to be retiring at the end of 2012 but remains in the frame for Los Pumas but 2013 is likely to be the end of the road due to him being set to turn 35 during the Rugby Championship. 

In effect Farías Cabello was a late emergency signing to attempt to help the club survive the drop to the RFU Championship. It came too late though as did the arrival of Gonzalo Tiesi. Both players were rushed into the starting lineup but the overall level of players available to the coaching staff was not up to the standards of rival teams and the club suffered the consequences. London Welsh has a chance of staying in the Aviva Premiership but for this to happen it needs the RFU Championship to be won b a club which lacks an adequate stadium to meet the demands of the Aviva Premiership. The way the 2012-2013 season has gone it is highly likely that the RFU Championship will be won by the Newcastle Falcons who were relegated last season after finishing bottom of the Aviva Premiership. 

A future return to the Aviva Premiership for London Welsh would appear to be extremely unlikely. The club has a debt of around £4 million and with the teams top players being given permission to leave it is likely that London Welsh will be a mid table side in next seasons RFU Championship. This could be perfect news for the UAR as the possibility now would appear to exist of Tiesi joining Farías Cabello in the Argentine squad for the home internationals in June against England and Georgia. He will be available for selection unless he does sign for another English club or return to France or sign to play in the RaboDirect Pro 12. Staying in Europe means he will not be able to play for Argentina in June due to the arrangement in place between the UAR which gives Santiago Phelan full access to Argentine players for the Rugby Championship from July-October. 

Phelan may now quietly be wanting Tiesi to return to Argentina rather than transfer clubs. Should this happen then he would have the potential of fielding the same starting centres combination that faced Wales in November 2012 at the Millennium Stadium. It would also be of significant interest to Tiesi from an international rugby perspective in that he could stake a claim to be the starting outside centre for the Rugby Championship ahead of Marcelo Bosch and Bath winger Horacio Agulla. As such Tiesi is in a win-win situation in that he could either play for a better club or recieve more game time and boost his chances of once again being Argentina´s starting outside centre. The coming weeks should clear up the picture. 

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