Thursday, May 16, 2013

Implications of Los Pumas Squad for June and 2013 Rugby Championship

Tickets on Sale for the June internationals
Argentina´s second year in the Rugby Championship is to be similar to the first. As in 2012 the 2013 June Internationals are to feature a different squad of players to that of the Rugby Championship. In order to allow players to recover from the demands of the 2012-2013 Northern Hemisphere season a total of twenty-one Argentina players have been rested and will not face England or Georgia next month. There is a clear balance in the players not selected to face England or Georgia as ten of the players are backs and eleven are forwards. The only position which lacks a player is scrumhalf as all of Tomás Cubelli, Martín Landajo and Nicolás Vergallo will be available for both the June internationals and the Rugby Championship. 

Overall the team named by Santiago Phelan can be said to be similar but slightly stronger than the squad that faced Italy and France a year ago. The main difference between the two sides is the selection of European players who are fringe players for Los Pumas but last year missed out due to being the squad for the Rugby Championship. Like in 2012 Felipe Contepomi is available and should captain the team from inside centre. Whether or not he will kick goals remains unknown due to the inclusion of Martín Bustos Moyano who missed out last year due to the Rugby Championship only to then miss out on selection. Instead Ignacio Mieres and Benjamín Urdapilleta played in June 2012 with Contepomi kicking goals. Mieres´ lack of game time for the Exeter Chiefs appears to have had consequenced at international level as he has missed out on the June tests and the Rugby Championship. 

Others of note included are props Maximilano Bustos and Francisco Gómez Kodela. Their inclusion means neither will play in the Rugby Championship, or at least not in the initial rounds. Both have been named for June while Bustos´s Montellier colleague Nahuel Lobo joins Juan Figallo in the squad for the Rugby Championship as the back-up option to Marcos Ayerza. Also included in the Rugby Championship is Juan Pablo Orlandi who is, like in 2012, set to provide cover at tighthead prop. 

Similar to Lobo Joaquín Tuculet has been named in the squad for the Rugby Championship and appears to be the back-up fullback option for Juan Martín Hernández. Tuculet was used at both fullback and inside centre in the 2012 June internationals but missed out on selection for the Rugby Championship. Instead Phelan included Martín Bustos Moyano and Rafael Carballo but for 2013 neither are in the twenty-one man squad thus far confirmed. The rise of Tuculet comes by virtue of him taking the bull by the horns as an injury enforced replacement against Wales last November. 

Also missing is Alvaro Galindo with the Racing Métro backrower now back in Argentina and rumoured to be moving to play Super Rugby for the Waratahs in Australia. He has missed out on selection altogether as he has not been named in either the squad for June or for the Rugby Championship. Instead Phelan has opted to name two young and promising backrowers in the June squad - Rodrigo Báez and Tomás De La Vega. One or both will likely go on to make the squad for the Rugby Championship together with Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, Tomás Leonardí and Leonardo Senatore. Of the four only Leonardí will feature against England and Georgia in June which firmly indicates that Julio Farías Cabello is likely to play on the side of the scrum rather than in the secondrow. 

Fariás Cabello is joined in the June squad by fellow London Welsh player Gonzalo Tiesi. With Tiesi named Argentina can have a strong midfield with Contepomi and Tiesi both all but certain to play in the Rugby Championship. They are to be the highest profile backs for Argentina next month and their workrate should fit in well for Manuel Montero who could be the Pumas player to keep a careful eye on in June. He is playing for a place in the Rugby Championship but it is tight given than Horacio Agulla, Lucas González Amorosino, Gonzalo Camacho and Juan Imhoff have all been rested. 

Rested Forwards: Patricio Albacete (Toulouse, France), Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers, England), Manuel Carizza (Racing Métro, France), Agustín Creevy (Worcester Warriors, England), Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (Toulon, France), Juan Figallo (Montpellier, France), Eusebio Guiñazú (Bath, England), Juan Manuel Leguizamón (Lyon, France), Nahuel Lobo (Montpellier, France), Juan Pablo Orlandi (Bath, England) and Leonardo Senatore (Worcester Warriors, England). 

Rested Backs: Horacio Agulla (Bath, England), Marcelo Bosch (Saracens, England), Gonzalo Camacho (Leicester Tigers, England), Santiago Fernández (Montpellier, France), Lucas González Amorosino (Montpellier, France), Juan Martín Hernández (Racing Métro, France), Juan Imhoff (Racing Métro, France), Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga (Stade Français, France), Nicolás Sánchez (Bordeaux-Begles, France) and Joaquín Tuculet (Grenoble, France).

28 Man Squad

Martín Garcia Veiga (Los Pampas XV)
Mauricio Guidone (Los Pampas XV) 
Bruno Postiglioni (Los Pampas XV)

Maximilano Bustos (Montpellier, France)
Francisco Gómez Kodela (Biarritz, France)
Pablo Henn (Brive, France)
Guillermo Roan (Cavalieri Prato, Italy)

Mariano Galarza (Los Pampas XV)
Esteban Lozada (Agen, France)
Benjamin Macome (Los Pampas XV)
Tomás Vallejos Cinalli (Coca-Cola West Red Sparks, Japan)

Rodrigo Báez (Los Pampas XV)
Tomás De La Vega (Los Pampas XV)
Julio Farías Cabello (London Welsh, England)
Tomás Leonardí (Kings, South Africa)

Tomás Cubelli (Los Pampas XV)
Martín Landajo (Los Pampas XV)
Nicolás Vergallo (Kings, South Africa)

Benjamín Madero (Los Pampas XV)
Benjamín Urdapilleta (Oyonnax, France)

Gabriel Ascárate (Carcassonne, France)
Felipe Contepomi (Stade Français, France)
Matías Orlando (Los Pampas XV)
Gonzalo Tiesi (London Welsh, England)

Belisario Agulla (Agen, France)
Tomás Carrió (Duendes, Argentina)
Manuel Montero (Los Pampas XV)

Martín Bustos Moyano (Bayonne, France)

Possible team for first test
14 Tomás Carrió 15 Martín Bustos Moyano, 11 Manuel Montero
(Duendes, Rosario), (Bayonne, France),  (Pucurá, Buenos Aires)
13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Felipe Contepomi
(London Welsh, England), Stade Français, France)
10 Benjamín Urdapilleta, 9 Martín Landajo
(Oyonnax, France), (CASI, Buenos Aires)

7 Tomás De La Vega, 8 Tomás Leonardí, 6 Julio Farías Cabello
(CUBA, Buenos Aires), (Kings, South Africa), (London Welsh, England)
5 Tomás Vallejos Cinalli, 4 Mariano Galarza 
(Coca-Cola West red Sparks, Japan), (Univeridad La Plata, Buenos Aires)
3 Maximilano Bustos, 2 Martín Garcia Veiga, 1 Francisco Gómez Kodela
(Montpellier, France), (Buenos Aires C&RC, Buenos Aires), (Biarritz, France)

Reserves: 16 Bruno Postiglino, 17 Pablo Henn, 18 Guillermo Roan, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Gabriel Ascárate, 23 Belisario Agulla


  1. Not so impressive, Georgia can win if key players (Gorgodze, Zirakashvili, Kakovin etc) are in the squad

    Thanks for the info, i'm waiting Jaguares squad for IRB Nations Cup


  2. Phelan really hates Mieres doesn't he?

    Can't even get in ahead of Urdapilleta or Madero never mind the actual Pumas squad. Gonzalez Iglesias is better than Madero in my opinion as well.

    Also why is there no genuine number 8 in the squad. And also why has Postiglioni been moved back to loosehead prop when he is seen as a hooker by the Pumas? He really is Guinazu mark 2, switches through the front row positions all the time yet will never nail down one.

    1. A lack of game time seems to really have hurt Mieres. It is a shame but the selection of Urdapilleta makes perfect sense given how well he has played for Oyonnax.

      González Iglesias will like play for Los Jaguares as will others while a number are to also play in the IRb Junior World Championship and the Sevens World Cup - all played in June!

    2. Gonzalez Iglesias should be ahead of Madero. Not seen Urdapilleta with Oyonnax, but Phelan has never seemed to like Mieres. He was important to getting Exeter 5th last season but ignored for Sanchez who hardly played at all with Bordeaux through a long injury.

      Internationals in June should take priority over the JWC as well. Cordero should be in the squad.

  3. Personally I think Mieries should have been selected ahead of Madero and Iglesias, but Sanchez can play inside centre too and he's much more creative than Mieries.

    Nuff said there!

    Carrio last represented his country as junior before this year and William Roan hasn't played for his country in 3 years!

    No Javier Alverez or the former Leeds prop! What's going on there?

    1. Mieres will need to get mroe game time at Worcester if he is to return to the test arena.

      Phelan wants to try new players given options he already has. Ayerza, Lobo and Figallo all cover loosehead.

  4. Interesting as Iglesias seems to have got the nod for Los Pampas over Madero. Also Paul - Kodela has mainly played at 3 no - has he played much at 1?

    Also think Agulla will start on the right wing.

    Cordero playing U20 World Cup so unavailable. His time will come.

    Huge series for Galarza to push his way back in.

    Leonardi and Macome comfortable at 8.

    1. Indeed neither Kodela nor Bustos are loosehead props which makes it interesting considering they are to two biggest names of all the props. Of the others the leading loosehead would be Pablo Henn but him sgtarting ahead of either would be unusual.

      Belisarion Agulla is probably going to start but given recent form and his lack of game time I think there is a chance that Carrío will start. Carrío was great in the South American Championship. Honestly, though, the non-selection of Rafael Carballo is highly surprizing.

      I will be surprized is Cordero does not feature in the Rugby Championship.

  5. Ah leonardi and Macome. Probably the most underrated of Argentina's current glut of loose forwards.

    Macome a likely replacement for Farias Cabaello, with Leonardi a likely replacement for Leguzimon in the future!

    Iglesias missed 20 points against the Sterval Pumas and yes Madero hardly played!

    Maybe Phelan doesn't like Mieries!

    1. I agree. Leonardí performed very well in 2012 and is, indeed, a great back-up to Leguizamón.

      Macome will certainly be one to look out for in June. With Senatore not in the squad there will really be an acid test for the likes of Leonardí, Macome, De La Vega, Baéz and Farías. All should get game time.

      Flyhalf is not a concern at all for Argentina but Mieres, on reputation alone, should have made the squad.