Monday, June 3, 2013

Pumas taking shape - Argentina v England

Martín Bustos Moyano made a name for himself at Montpellier. 
Today´s training in Buenos Aires looks to have confirmed who will and who will not be representing Argentina this coming Saturday in Salta. The training session included players involved in Sunday´s exhibition match in Uruguay. The match itself was far from being the failure that many had indicated it would be. Instead it turned out to be the biggest success of the weekend as Samoa was humiliated in losing 74-14 against South African side the Lions, Rugby World Cup 2019 hosts Japan was out played by Fiji and the rain in Lautoka while the Barbarians were torn apart by the British and Irish Lions in Hong Kong. With Argentina having defeated a combined South American side 78-15 in 2011 the 2013 edition was not expected to be very competitive. Sunday´s side had Argentine players but it was missing all of Argentina´s European based players and countless others. With the exception of scrumhalf Tomás Cubelli those invited for the match were third choice Pumas or international players from Chile, Uruguay or Brazil. 

Cubelli was used as Argentina´s third choice scrumhalf until the November tour of Europe. On tour he was second choice behind Martín Landajo. His Los Pampas XV colleague and close firend, Tomás De La Vega, was unlucky not to have been used more in 2012 but this could change in 2013. Both players along with flyhalf Benjamín Madero, winger Belisario Agulla and fullback Tomás Carrió were back from Montevideo with the rest of the Argentine squad. 
The training session today appears to have underlined the starting lineup for the first test against England. Brive veteran Pablo Henn trained at loosehead prop in a frontrow which also featured Montpellier´s Maximilano Bustos. The two Top 14 props look set to be joined by Pampas XV hooker Martín García Veiga in the starting frontrow. None of the three are likely to make the squad for the Rugby Championship which makes their selection all the more notable as Argentina looks ahead towards establishing a a side for 2015. The secondrow that trained today is more familiar with Pampas XV captain Mariano Galarza, joining Rugby World Cup 2007´s Esteban Lozada. Both are in contention for a place in the Rugby Championship but the chances of both being included are not strong. Both will be up against Julio Farías Cabello who trained in the backrow as the blindside flanker in a combination with the much younger pairing of Benjamín Macome and Super Rugby´s Tomás Leonardí.
The backs aappear more predicatable as the halves combination in training was 2012´s first choice Pumas number 9 Martín Landajo and the on form Benjamín Urdapilleta who had a lot to do with Oyonnax winning the Pro d2 and securing its place in the 2013-2014 Top 14. Set to start outside Urdapilleta is 35 year old time time Rugby World Cup veteran Felipe Contepomi. He sis certain to start and is also likely to be the goalkicker despite others in the team. Contepomi looks set to reform the centres combination that started against England in Rugby World Cup 2011 as Gonzalo Tiesi will wear the Pumas 13 shirt. The back-three has one surprize with the inclusion of Los Pampas XV´s outside centre Matías Orlando having trained on the wing. Fullback will be taken by the new Bayonne signing Martín Bustos Moyano who arguably should be the goalkicker but lacks the experience at test level of Contepomi. One of Argentina´s biggest prospects, Manuel Montero appears set to start on the wing. 
The team will be confirmed by Santiago Phelan on Tuesday.

South American XV v England

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