Sunday, September 22, 2013

Manuel Carizza to play Super Rugby for the Stormers

Carizza carries against Scotland in Edinburgh in 2009
After nine years of playing professional rugby in France Los Pumas international Manuel Carizza is to continue his professional career in the Southern Hemipshere. Carizza is to play Super Rugby thus becoming the first Argentine Rugby Championship player who commands a starting position to join Super Rugby.

This past week there were a number of reports in South Africa pointing out that the Cape Town based Super Rugby franchises, the Stormers was interested in signing Argentine international second-rower Manuel Carizza. Today it has been revealed by European sources that a deal has been completed which will see the 29 year old play Super Rugby next season. 

Carizza will join Springbok second-rower Eben Etzebeth and likely form a starting combination due to the exit of Andries Bekker who left the Stormers to play in Japan. The frnachise is also home to a host of other South African international players. The move comes after Carizza was not given an extended contract by Biarritz at the completion of the 2011-2012 season. He had played for the Basque club from 2005 and had appeared in a Heineken Cup final. The club was not happy with losing players to international duty during the Rugby Championship and therefore did not offer Carizza a new deal.

After the completion of the 2012 Rugby Championship Carizza joined Racing Métro and played one season with the club. He was unattached to any club going into the 2013 Rugby Championship just like a number of others including Lucas González Amorosino, Santiago Fernández, Gonzalo Tiesi and Joaquín Tuculet. Three of the four were released by French clubs due to their involvement in the Rugby Championship.

Carizza has held down the Pumas number four shirt for four years. After missing out on selection for Rugby World Cup 2007 his opportunity came after the retirements of Carlos Ignacio Fernández Lobbe and Rimas Alvarez Kairelis. Carizza made his test debut in 2004 against South Africa and despite having been in the starting lineup previously it was the November international match against Scotland at Murrayfield that saw Cairrza become the partner of Patricio Albacate. 

He started all 2012 Rugby Championship matches and has played in three of the four so far this year. He was injured against South Africa in Soweto and subsequently missed the return test match in Mendoza. In total Carizza has been capped 36 times for Argentina but should pass the 50 test mark in 2014 due to him being available for the November and June internationals - tests played when there is no Super Rugby. 

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