Friday, September 20, 2013

Tomás Leonardí signs for Edinburgh

Leonardí against Australia on the Gold Coast in the 2012 Rugby Championship
The frustration that has prevented Argentine international back-rower, Tomás Leonardí from having a memorbale 2013 may well have now ended. The 26 year old left South Africa before the end of the Super Rugby season due to complications that emerged from the country´s governing body limiting the number of foreigners allowed to play for South African franchises.

The law changed what appeared to be an ideal move for Leonardí into being an unhappy time. With unlimited options Leonardí was severely underused but is now very happy. He returned to Buenos Aires to play for his club, SIC in the URBA Top 14 and for Argentina in the June 2013 internationals against England and Georgia. Since returning he has remained in Argentina while being on the market and now he is to play in Europe.

In an interview with Argentine site ESPN Scrum Leonardí revealed that he has accepted a short-term four month deal to play in Scotland for Edinburgh in the Rabo Direct Pro 12. The contract could well be extended but for now it gives the back-rower a good opportunity of playing at a higher level than that found in the URBA competition. It does, however mean he will leave his club at a decisive time as the play-offs are approaching. Leonardí is the second SIC player this week to be in talks with Edinburgh. Uncapped Argentine centre Joaquín Domínguez is on a trial with the side. 

Leonardí emerged in the June 2012 home internationals against Italy and France after heaving previously played for Los Pumas in 2009 in place of the unavailable Juan Manuel Leguizamón. Leonardí faced England, Wales and Scotland on that year´s November tour earning his second, third and fourth caps after having debuted against Chile in 2008. He missed not only Rugby World Cup 2011 but all tests between November 2009 and June 2012. His return saw him earn eleven caps in 2012 and perform well throughout the year.

But after being included in the June 2013 squad and earning three caps Leonardí was left out of the squad for the Rugby Championship. He had been overtaken by Leonardo Senatore and the young Pablo Matera while the performance of Benjamín Macome in June against England was superior to that of Leonardí. During the matches against England Macome was able to ask more questions of the English defenders which had an impact on the decision of Santiago Phelan to select Macome over Leonardí.

Size has been an issue with Leonardí lacking the same go forwards as some others. He does, however, have a host of very powerful weapons at his disposal. Her proved to be an effective counter-rucker for Argentina in 2012 and offered a lot as a fetcher. This saw him come on regularly from the bench as an early second half replacement. But with Senatore and Matera now prefered Leonardí will be out to step up to earn a recall for November. His four month contract with Edinburgh looms as the perfect opportunity. 

2 comments:

  1. Size?
    Hmmm... I wouldn't say his size is a problem. According to the UAR site he stands 6,3 and weighs in at around 17 stone.
    I think position is more of a concern. He's not the all round back rower that is Leguizamon and Lobbe.
    I look at him as an out and out open-sider.

    What do you think?

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    1. Against England in June Macome was the one to go forward. Leonardí ws at 8, his favored position but was dropped thereafter.

      In 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TE372jd46o

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