Friday, October 18, 2013

Americas Weekend Preview - Five Hot Points

Photo ESPN Scrum: Ascaraté to start on Sunday in Glasgow

1. Americas Rugby Championship
The 2013 Americas Rugby Championship will come to a close in British Columbia this weekend with Argentina facing the host nation while Uruguay and the USA will play in a preview of the South v North American final play-off which will see the winner qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015 as Americas 2. Although the matches are non-capped they are nonetheless vital to rugby in all four countries as the tournament has produced many test level players. When the schedule was drawn up it appeared that Los Jaguares v Canada A would be the determinig fixture but instead it could see Canada finish dead last after the USA defeated Canada earlier in the week. Should both Argentina and Uruguay win in round three then Canada would be bottom. Regardless of trhe result Argentina is already champion. 

2. Marcelo Bosch to debut at Wembley
The player many regard as having been the best Puma back in the Rugby Championship will make his first ever appearance later on today for Saracens. Marcelo Bosch joined the Aviva Permiership club after seven years at Biarritz. He has been named on the bench for the fixture and is the replacement fly half rather than mid-fielder for the fixture. With Argentina set to debut at Wembley Stadium in Rugby World Cup 2015 against New Zealand Bosch will be the first Argentine player to have played at the home of English soccer at both club and international level. Starting will be Chris Wyles and not Joel Tomkins who many think will play for England against Argentina next month.

3. Gabriel Ascárate home debut for the Glasgow Warriors
Another Pumas centre will be making a debut of sorts this weekend. Gabriel Ascárate has been a part of Pumas squads for the June internationals but remains outside of the elite squad. The Tucumán mid-fielder will start for the Glasgow Warriors at inside centre in the home fixture against the Exeter Chiefs on Sunday. Ascárate arrived at the Scottish club this season and has featured in Rabo Direct Pro 12 matches but is yet to start a match in Glasgow.

4. Lucas González Amorosino straight into starting XV
The frustrating dispute between Argentine international fullback, Lucas González Amorosino and Montpellier saw the French club release the Puma from his contract early. Montpellier was not happy with losing the Buenos Aires fullback to international duty for the purposes of the Rugby Championship and opted to terminate his contract. González Amorosino subsequently had offers to join rival clubs and this past week confirmed he would be playing alongside former Pumas Benjamín Urdapilleta and Agustín Figuerola at Oyonnax in France. Both González Amorosino and Figuerola will start against Biarritz in an away Amlin Challenge Cup pool match on Saturday. Urdapilleta is being rested ahead of the away Top 14 match against Grenoble the following Saturday.

5. URBA Top 14 Semi Finals
It is the business end of the world´s best city club competition. In global rugby it does not get any bigger than the URBA Top 14 and with Hindú v SIC and CUBA v Newman being the fixtures there is a lot of past, present and future to look out for in Buenos Aires on Saturday and Sunday. The first finalist will be the odds on favorite based on past results. All finals since 2004 have been won by either Hindú or SIC. On the other hand neither Newman nor CUBA has been URBA champion. Notable players from the clubs include:

Hindú - Horacio Agulla, Santiago Fernández, Tomás Lavanini, Gonzalo Quesada, Lucas Ostiglia and Martín Scelzo.

SIC - Diego Albanese, Diego Cash, Che Guevara, Tomás Leonardí, Marcelo Loffreda, Gonzalo Longo, Rolando Martín, Diego Cuesta Silva.

CUBA - Javier Bernardo, Ignacio Corleto, Tomás de La Vega, Hugo Miguens and Ernesto Ure. 

Newman - Marcos Ayerza, Agustín Canalda, Felipe Contepomi, Manuel Contepomi and Agustín Gosio.

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