Monday, June 24, 2013

Santiago Phelan confirms 30 man Pumas squad for training in the USA

19 year old Pumitas backrower Pablo Matera selected for Los Pumas

The recently completed international series in which Argentina faced England and Georgia saw a very understrength side take to the field and fail to perform to the required level. The result is that Argentina lost its two matches against England badly. Argentina was without twenty-one players who were rested ahead of the Rugby Championship. The same twenty-one players are confirmed in the squad and are to be joined by nine other players who were named today by Santiago Phelan. 

The list includes some surprizes notably the inclusion of two players from Argentina´s under 20 side which finished sixth in the just completed 2013 IRB Junior World Championship in France. The 130KG 20 year old Matías Diaz from Mendoza has been named in the squad. He was part of a very good frontrow in the IRB Junior World Championship and will be joined by Pablo Matera who is coming off two very successful seasons at junior level for Argentina. The selection of these two players sees some more familiar names excluded from the list for the Rugby Championship. Matera has been picked but none of Tomás De La Vega, Tomás Leonardí or Alvaro Galindo have. Instead Matera and Benjamin Macome have been named as the backrowers to join the trio of Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Leonardo Senatore. Similarly Diaz is in while others of note are out. He joins Marcos Ayerza, Juan Figallo, Juan Pablo Orlandi and Nahuel Lobo to be the squads fifth prop. Neither Maximilano Bustos nor Francisco Gomez Kodela have been selected. 

Also joining the twenty-one players rested are some other senior players, of whom are more familiar but, there are, nonetheless, more surprizes. The promising young scrumhalf duo of Tomás Cubelli and Martín Landajo have both been named but there is no place for Nicolás Vergallo. The exclusion of both Leonardí and Vergallo would appear to suggest that it is due to their participation in Super Rugby with the Southern Kings and not their actual form. As such, both should be added to the squad subsequently. The performances of the three scumhalves for Argentina in June would suggest that the November 2012 selection of Cubelli and Landajo ahead of Vergallo should continue. 

The other backs included are entirely expceted. Centre Gonzalo Tiesi has been named in the training squad despite having left the field wth a rib injury against Georgia on Saturday. He is expected to recieve plenty of game tim for Argentina in 2013 and remains the only specialist outside centre in the thirty man squad. In his place Argentina fielded Marcelo Bosch, Joaquín Tuculet and Horacio Agulla at times in 2013 but the regular position of all players is not outside centre. Bosch is likely to be used more at 12 this year while veteran and former captain Felipe Contepomi is another pushing to play in the same position. Contepomi has been selected as one of two veterans from the June test matches. The other being Julio Farías Cabello who would appear to now be in the frame as a secondrower rather than a backrower. Of the thirty players traveling to Pensacola only Patricio Albacete, Manuel Carizza and Mariano Galarza are specialist secondrowers. Galarza is, therefore, likely to be in a two way race wth Farías Cabello to be the replacement secondrower for the opening match against South Africa at Soccer City in Johannesburg. 

While Matera and Díaz have earned test call ups there is no place for either Patricio Fernández or Santiago Cordero. No doubt both will be Pumas and, sooner rather than later. But they play in positions in which Argentina is loaded with talent already. Fernández, for instance is up against Nicolás Sánchez, Felipe Contepomi, Marcelo Bosch and Santiago Fernández while Cordero has Juan Martín Hernández, Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga, Joaquín Tuculet and Lucas González Amorosino ahead of him.

The thirty man squad will travel to Pensalcola, Florida this Wednesday for a fitness program aimed at getting all tha players into top shape for the Rugby Championship. Upon returning there will be a two match series between Los Pumas and the Sydney based Suerp Rugby franchise the New South Wales Waratahs at yet to be confirmed locations. The matches wll take place in August, similar to the two matches against Stade Français in 2012. Tucumán and Buenos Aires are rumoured as being the frontrunners to host the matches.

30 man training squad

Horacio Agulla
Patricio Albacete
Stade Toulousian
Marcos Ayerza
Leicester Tigers
Marcelo Bosch
Gonzalo Camacho
Leicester Tigers
Manuel Carizza

Felipe Contepomi
Club Newman
Agustín Creevy
Tomás Cubelli
Belgrano Athletic
Matías Díaz
Teqüé R.C
Julio Farías Cabello
Tucumán R.C
Juan Fernández Lobbe
Santiago Fernández
Juan Figallo
Mariano Galarza
Uni de la Plata
Lucas G Amorosino
Eusebio Guiñazú
Juan Martín Hernández
Racing Metro
Juan Imhoff
Racing Metro
Martín Landajo
Juan Leguizamón
Nahuel Lobo
Benjamín Macome
Tucumán R.C
Pablo Matera
Asociación Alumni
Juan Pablo Orlandi
Martín Rodríguez
Stade Francais
Nicolás Sánchez
Bordeaux Begles
Leonardo Senatore
Gonzalo Tiesi
Joaquín Tuculet


  1. So is Moyano unlucky to miss out again in your opinion.

    Or have you come to your senses and realised that he is out of his depth at international level and is basically just a very average player

    1. It depends greatly on why he would / would not be selected. What are the qualities that he brings to the table? The main one is goalkicking, o which is is up there with the best Argentine players. His non-selection in 2012 was odd due to Argentina having issues as neither Juan Martín Hernández nor Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga succeeded in kicking at would would be acceptable at test level in the Rugby Championship.

      But with Contepomi back and Nicolás Sánchez having impressed in November this part of Bustos Moyano´s game is not as significant to the squad. MRG, Joaquín Tuculet and Lucas González Amorosino offer more in counter attack from fullback while wing is covered from other players too.

      In 2013 goalkicking should not be such an issue meaning the exclusion of Bustos Moyano is understandable.

    2. The opinion on Bustos Moyano isn't mentioned in the article ...

      In 2012 a kicker needed to be fitted in with JMH and MRG both not faring that well in this aspect. Sanchez did though, so as long as he is in the team the goal kicking will not be an issue.

      By the way, I think Planet Rugby got this squad of Google Translate. They call Pablo Matera - Paul Matera. Quite embarrassing how much they copy and paste.

  2. A few questions for Paul.

    I'm surprised that Macome is in ahead of Tomas De La Vega - he was tipped to be the next big thing but just hasnt been given a chance - what's the story there?

    Stade Francais played Rodriguez at 13 at the end of the season - could he be the answer there?

    Where is Juan Cruz Guillemain - was around for the autumn tour but not given a chance in June either? Pumas look very short of depth at Second Row. Cabello, i'm afraid, is 9 months passed his ability to play at this level. Galarza struggled in June did he not? Wondering why clubs in Europe arent interested?

    Diaz looks massive - is he more of a tight head or loose head? Bustos unlucky - never given a chance in the first team.

    Vergallo very unfortunate - Landajo lost form in my opinion?

    Big step up for Lobo.....

    He must start Creevy.

    Montero very poor in June - but i'd be looking to convert him into a centre like Jamie Roberts.

    Contepomi not the future. Fernandez and Cordero should be in instead of him.

    Cannot understand Cabello and Contepomi picks - two years out from World Cup, Pumas should be building a team for 2015. After years of begging to be allowed into the competition, the coach still picks players who are old and passed it and don't try new players. Need much more rotation this season.

    1. Tomás De La Vega is still very young - he is 22. His non-selection is extremely questionable though given that Alvaro Galindo is no longer in the mix. Macome is a better ball carrier while Leonardí is probably an equaly goof fetcher and a better impact player. I would suggest this is why De La Vega has missed out. Matera looms as a George Smith like player.

      MRG could play 13 but it is not likely. Instead Tiesi should be first choice with Agulla cover. Agulla should wear the 22 shirt due to JMH and 15 and Sánchez at 10 meaning that there is no need to have a reserve flyhalf. Thus 23 could be MRG or Tuculet. If so Contepomi and Fernández would likely miss out with Bosch playing 12. Imhoff and Camacho to be the wingers.

      Juan Cruz Guillemaín was to play in June but was injured playing for Stade Français. He should debut in November. For TRF Argentina have its top three secondrowers in Albacete, Carizza and Galarza while JFC is in the mix too.

      Matias Diás plays tighthead. Bustos was not good enough in November and was silly to get himself yellow carded against Ireland. Lobo looked really solid against France in November I though. Has done well when playing for Montpellier and will play for Newcastle in the Aviva Premiership on a two year deal. Lobo is backup to Ayerza.

      Yes - Creevy, like Imhoff, has to start.

      Montero is injured. Bad knee injury should mean he is out all year unfortunately. Indeed, he appears to be a 13 like Rougerie.

      Contepomi is there for experience and cover more than anything. He´ll be backup at 12 and 10 but not start. Probable to miss out on the first test in Johannesburg.

      Phelan is not goint to stay on as coach - I guess this is why the veterans are in the side.

  3. Thanks Paul - just with one Rugby Championship left before 2015, Phelan has wasted another opportunity to blood young players - Contepomi and JFC waste two places.

    Bustos plays well for Montpellier.

    1. I disagree that Felipe Contepomi wastes a space in the squad. He deserves to play the Rugby Championship at least once for his fantastic career with the Pumas. Contepomi's contributions to many wins for Argentina helped the Pumas finally get included in a regular competition against world class opposition. So deserves a spot in the squad for his career contribution alone.

      As for deserving a space on merit, I don't think that Argentina has four better centres than Contepomi. I am not saying that Contepomi should start but he still is one of the best centres that Argentina have. He deserves to be there on merit too.