Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Teen Sidestepping sensation Santiago Cordero the latest Puma prospect

After the breakthroughs of the athletic finisher Juan Imhoff, and the powerful big rangy Manuel Montero. Argentina continue to be producing unprecedented levels of depth in the back three positions. The latest new talent to come through is the teenage sidestepping sensation Santiago Cordero.

A winger or a full back, Cordero is small for a modern day professional rugby player just 5 foot 9 inches and 76 kg (12 stone 4 lbs). But despite the modern trend for ever more powerful and larger backs such as Wales select, Cordero is a winger/full back in the mould of Jason Robinson or Shane Williams, like them his big strength is his astonishingly good agility and quickness on his feet. To use a phrase from the late Bill McLaren "He could sidestep 3 men in a telephone box".

Aged just 18, Cordero was a star of the Pumitas Junior World Cup campaign in 2012 where Argentina finished 4th, their best ever position, one of the most magic moments of the tournament was Cordero zig zagging through the French U20 defence to set up a try for his teammate Juan Cappiello to score.

After impressing with the U20's, Cordero followed the path which has now become the done thing for promising young Argentine backs, he joined up with the Sevens side. Cordero's agility and lightness on his feet was ideal for Sevens and it didn't take him long to make an impact, in his debut Sevens tournament in the opening leg of the Sevens World Series in Gold Coast he scored 4 tries in the tournament including one great individual effort from his own 22 in the final minute to knock out the hosts Australia.

He was so impressive that he caught the eye of Santiago Phelan was fast tracked into the senior Pumas squad to tour Europe in November as a surprise inclusion. He was mainly taken for experience, although he would have been one of the youngest players ever to be capped for the Pumas if had played, but he didn't get any action on the field.

More recently, Cordero has been playing with the Pampas XV in the Vodacom Cup and combined with Manuel Montero to form a little and large wing partnership. The Pampas XV is a fantastic opportunity for all Argentine based players who lack professional rugby to prove themselves at a higher level than Argentine domestic rugby, and Cordero is doing himself no harm in boosting his chances of progressing further in 2013.

A good example of his phenomenal sidestepping ability was in evidence in his try against Border Bulldogs in Round 3 of the Vodacom Cup. Cordero possesses a special ability to be able to find his way through defences, and here he simply got the ball and jinked through untouched, the defence hardly laying a finger on him.

Whilst Cordero didn't get on the pitch on the November 2012 tour, he will still be one of the youngest Pumas of all time if he gets a cap in 2013. Whilst it is very possible he could feature in June with Imhoff, Camacho, Agulla, Amorosino all missing. Both the Sevens World Cup and Junior World Cup also happen in June, and it is unknown whether he will get capped in June, or play in one of those tournaments.

Either way, Cordero looks to be one of the most exciting prospects in Argentine rugby, and has the potential to go along way and surely if he keeps working and training hard will have a role to play at RWC 2015.


  1. He will debut against Georgia

    1. No, he will be in France playing for the Pumitas and after that he could be selected to play the 7WC

    2. It remains to be seen. He will certainly miss out on facing England due to the Junior World Championship but the Georgia test wll take place after the group stage which means that, in theory, Cordero could return to Argentina to face Georgia. This would mean he would not play in the Sevens World Cup though.

      For June I would think the wingers will be Martín Bustos Moyano, Rafael Carballo and Manuel Montero with possibly Joaquín Tuclet playing fullback. If they, and Belisario, are all in the mix then the chances are that Cordero will play in the Sevens WC instead.

  2. Can we have weekly match reports on the Pampas XV please plus highlights? I'm sure we used to!

    1. I am wanting to do just this but was unable to find a youtube or dailymotion highlights package of the game from last weekend.

    2. To embed highlights of the matches. Follow these instructions. Go to the highlights on ESPN.

      Play the video. Click the circle on bottom right, quick "compartir", then click "copiar código", then change the blog post to HTML, then paste the code. Go back to Compose mode. And then you are done.