Friday, May 24, 2013

Surge in Pumas Transfering Clubs due to Rugby Championship

Photo: Premiership Rugby
Agustín Creevy celebrates Argentina´s win over Scotland at RWC 2011
When Argentina was confirmed as being added to the fomer Tri Nations Championship there were concerns over the ability of the UAR to guarantee the availability of the best players for international duty. The scheduling of the tournament occurs at a time which is not in the interests of European rugby which directly effects the majority of Argentina´s top players. With England and France being home to most of Argentina´s leading players the UAR needed to negotiate terms with Premiership Rugby and the LNR to ensure all players selected could play against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as required. It was green lighted by authorities in both England and France but there were a host of clubs who voiced their opposition. 

Biarritz, Leicester and Racing Métro all spoke out in opposition to losing their players during the tournament with Leicester´s Horacio Agulla making headlines due to him being the clubs player of the season but the club, nonetheless, opted to release him. He was signed by rivals Bath and went on to play just as well for his new club. Agulla´s move to Bath marked his fourth different professional club after he had previously played in the Top 14 for Brive and Dax. He bucked the trend by joining an Aviva Premiership Club from the Top 14 rather than doing the opposite. 

Leading up to Rugby World Cup 2007 Pumas players had become increasingly hot property in France. So much so that six of the starting players that faced England at Twickenham in 2006 played their Rugby in England compared to two when Argentina faced England at Rugby World Cup 2011. The two English based Pumas were Horacio Agulla and Gonzalo Camacho. Both still play in the Aviva Premiership but in different clubs. Camacho went from the Harlequins to Exeter and after the 2013 Rugby Championship will join the Leicester Tigers. Also leaving Exeter is Ignacio Mieres who is one of three Pumas joining the club.

As Argentine site Ole pointed out on Thursday there is no coincidence that Montpellier and Racing Métro have both reduced their Pumas contingents to be only two players each for the 2013-2014 Top 14 and Heineken Cup season. Montpellier is losing four or five players and Racing Métro three. Of them winger Martín Bustos Moyano has confirmed his transfer to Bayonne, hooker Agustín Creevy will join Worcester nd tighthead prop Juan Pablo Orlandi is to play for Bath. Santiago Fernández is set to be confirmed to having joined Castres and Nahuel Lobo will play next season for the Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership. Also being released are Manuel Carriza and Alvaro Galindo with Carizza in the hunt to play for a different club while Galindo is back in his native Tucumán. Montpellier are also wanting to offload Lucas González Amorosino despite him still having two years to go on his contract.

Biarritz behaved similarly a year ago as the club offered Manuel Carriza and Eusebui Guiñazú new contracts on the condition that they would be available for Biarritz and not play in the Rugby Championship. Neither player accepted which saw both play in all of Argentina´s matches in the tournament and Guiñazú subsequently signed for Bath and will be one of three Pumas at the club next season. Marcelo Bosch and Francisco Gomez Kodela remained at Biarritz but the club continued to voice its dislike of the situation and it decided to not extent Bosch´s contract. The decision saw Bosch agree to terms to join Saracens to, like Guiñazú, play in the Aviva Premiership. 

Of the nine players moving for next season two are going from one French club to another compared to four moving from France to England. Central to this change is firstly the UAR´s agreement with the players which sees them recieve salaries from the union in addition to from their clubs and secondly the Top 14 season which has four extra rounds of pool play and one additional round for the play-off´s.  

Rugby Championship Transfers

Marcelo Bosch (Biarritz to Saracens)
Martín Bustos Moyano (Montpellier to Bayonne)
Gonzalo Camacho (Exeter to Leicester)
Manuel Carriza (Racing Métro to Argentina)
Agustín Creevy (Montpellier to Worcester)
Santiago Fernández (Montpellier to Castres)
Nahuel Lobo (Montpellier to Newcastle) 
Ignacio Mieres (Exeter to Worcester)
Juan Pablo Orlandi (Racing Métro to Bath)


  1. It is also worth mentioning that not all the clubs have the same view about Puma players playing in the rugby championship....

    Bath, for instance, stated publicly their support for Agulla's inclusion in the rugby championship and consider that the experience will actually make him an even more valuable asset for the team....

    Contrary to all expectations, just about ALL the players have found a new club....and of the one's that have not such as Carizza, Guiniazu, and Tiesi, are all pretty much guaranteed to find aspiring clubs to count with their invaluable experience in the most exclusive and demanding rugby and athletic tournament of the planet....

    So, clearly, the rugby championship is clearly a case where the glass is not only far from half empty.... but actually three quarters full !!

    Yeyyy !

  2. One should also mention that before France 2007, most of the big gun for ARG were in FRA, and coming up to England 2015 a significant number will be plying there trade in ENG.

    Can history repeat itself?

    Personally I can see them getting to the semis again looking at the current draw!

  3. I worry about this kind of thing as the Pumas have a special way with adversity like a big romance....Tonga must not be underestimated....

    but i guess the point i was trying to make that is that the dire full of gloom and dark cloud predictions of our players not finding clubs in Europe were greatly exagerated....these players are still very much in demand....

    and i'm confident that after the 4Nations Tiesi.... guiniazu... and Carizza will have no trouble finding a club either....and they know it too....

    also....look out for Tiesi to break into the top five halfbacks in the world....i would not trade him for anyone except perhaps sonny bill williams....but Tiesi tackles better !!

  4. There was some talk ago about Carizza going to the Highlanders.
    Maybe he's Clavoiant and saw the season they're having now from long before!

    Agreed about Tonga. Brutal south sea offensives have caused Argentina trouble in the past: RWC 87,91 and 95.

    Tonga showed against Japan today that stamina issues of old aren't a concern now.

    Still it would be a shock if they over came Argentina.

    Let's see!