Thursday, July 18, 2013

Australian Super Rugby sides to contract Pumas?

While Super Rugby has been extremely positive for Australian rugby there are few people who would suggest five teams is an appropriate number for Australia. The 2013 season has, just like previous ones, highlighted the shortage of adequate players across the park in all Australian teams. Despite the fact that the number of Australian teams has increased from three to five the player base has not leaving a shortage of quality players to sustain a sufficent standard and ultimately product of rugby. While rugby league players have made a positive impact in certain positions they have, overall, not been able to make a fundamental impact in the majority of positions. 

A likely solution lies in capturing foreign players who can help lift the teams. The ARU has reacted in a revolutionary manner by granting permission to the two long term strugglers - the Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels to recruit seven foreign players to help them compete with the Brumbies, Reds and Waratahs. The three more traditional sides are not ignored, however, as the Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney based Super Rugby sides will be able to recruit two foreigners with one being termed a marquee players and the other developmental. The Force and Rebels, on the other hand, will be able to recruit one marquee player and six foreign developmental players.

Argentina would appear to be in a strong position to step up an help out with this problem. With French clubs, especially, having become very unhappy with the non-availability of Pumas players during the Rugby Championship a number of notable players have been shown the door. Leaving France for England or for a return to Argentina have been players including Marcelo Bosch, Manuel Carizza, Agustín Creevy, Santiago Fernández, Eusebio Guiñazú and Juan Pablo Orlandi - all of which are to play in their second Rugby Championship this year.

Carizza and Fernández are two examples of Pumas who could slot in easily into the Force or Rebels while there are other examples such as the 2013 squad members Tomás Cubelli, Matías Díaz, Mariano Galarza, Martín Landajo, Pablo Matera, Gonzalo Tiesi and Joaquín Tuculet. It could also be a solution to bringing more players home from Europe and thus into the southern season. The Rebels recently made headlines for releasing both James O´Connor and Kurtley Beale. The Australian international pair will likely end up in other clubs - possibly the Waratahs and Reds. Without them the Rebels will need to find new players to cover flyhalf, inside centre and fullback. Fernández is therefore an example of a player on the market who could replace one of them.

Speaking of the changes ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver said "It's an opportunity to provide unique assistance to the Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels."This has been done in consultation with all five Super Rugby franchises," Pulver said. "There is some inherent advantage enjoyed by NSW, Queensland and to a lesser extent the Brumbies, which are the birthplaces of most of Australia's rugby talent. "This is part of our approach to share the talent around the country. I'd love to see our teams come first, second, third, fourth and fifth in the competition."

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  1. This could work for a couple of years but the aim of Super Rugby has to be to allow for two Argentinian Super sides to be launched in 2016.

    Also Paul - I thought Santiago Fernandez had moved to Castres?

    1. If Australian teams were to contract Pumas players then the system would be ideal as a bridge to fill the gap between now and when Argentina enters Super Rugby. Should 2016 be the year then there are still three years of international rugby and Argentine rugby would be very happy to have players involved.

      Montpellier has been trying to release Amorosino and Fernández. Of the two it is certain that Fernández will not stay at the club. He was strongly linked to Castres but the club Castres announced only Julien Tomas, Cédric Garcia, Geoffrey Palis and Rémy Grosso as the new arrivals for 2013-2014. Although the transfer window has officially closed there are still players being announced.

      CO -

      MHR -