Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hourcade names 27 Pumas for England

Test debut looms for Santiago Cordero against England
The arrival of Daniel Hourcade has seen an instant impact on the make-up of the team. The former Argentine Sevens, Jaguares and Los Pampas XV coach has named a list of twenty-seven players for the opening tour match against England on November 9. 

The list sees four players from the original thirty-one named on Tuesday cut for the match at Twickenham. Of them one is Juan Martín Hernández who is being rested due to having suffered a minor tear to his right hamstring while playing for Racing Métro recently. He is expected to return for the second match of the tour against Wales. In place of Hernández there are three players who could start at fullback and the selection history of Hourcade for Argentine sides indicates that he is far from strictly enforcing a first choice team on all outings. 

The the contrary he has a tendency to mix and match which means all three of Lucas González Amorosino, Joaquín Tuculet and 19 year old Santiago Cordero stand realistic chances of starting at fullback against the English. Should Cordero start then it would mean test debut in the Cathedral. Cordero is one of five players in the short-listed squad for the fixture to never have played a test match in Europe. The others are Santiago Iglesias Valdez, Matías Díaz, Tomás Lavanini, Pablo Matera e Javier Rojas. All have, like Cordero, previously played in teams coached by Hourcade. 

In addition to Hernández the three other players missing for the London fixture are European based professionals. In Hourcade´s first act of a revolution there will be not only a different fullback to that of the Rugby Championship but also a different hooker. Eusebio Guiñazú has not been included in the squad. His non-selection increases the strong chances that Argentina will be captained by Agustín Creevy in place of the injured Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe.

Creevy is now certain to be the starting hooker and be covered by 20 year old Santiago Iglesias Valdez from Tucumán who led Los Pumitas in the 2013 Junior World Championship. The two others to have been left out of the training squad to face England are Worcester back-rower Leonardo Senatore and Glasgow centre Gabriel Ascárate. Without both Senatore and Fernández Lobbe Argentina would appear all but certain to have a starting back-row of 6 Julio Farías Cabello, 7 Pablo Matera, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón.  If so the replacement would be Benjamín Macome, another from Tucumán.

In addition to confirming the twenty-seven players it has also been announced that former Pumas prop Emiliano Bergamaschi will join Hourcade in the coaching staff for the tour. Bergamaschi has previously worked with Hourcade in coaching Los Jaguares. The Argentine based squad members will depart Buenos Aires for London on Saturday at 2:45pm and be joined by the European based players following the completion of the weekend´s club activity in the Aviva Premiership, Top 14 and Pro 12. 

Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers, England)
Maximiliano Bustos (Montpellier, France)
Juan Pablo Orlandi (Bath, England)
Matías Díaz (Highlanders, New Zealand)
Nahuel Lobo (Unattached)

Agustín Creevy (Worcester, England)
Santiago Iglesias (Universitario Tucumán)

Patricio Albacete (Toulouse, France)
Manuel Carizza (Stormers, South Africa)
Mariano Galarza (Worcester, England)
Tomás Lavanini (Hindú)

Julio Farías Cabello (Tucumán)
Juan Manuel Leguizamón (Lyon, France)
Benjamín Macome (Tucumán)
Pablo Matera (Leicester Tigers, England)

Tomás Cubelli (Belgrano)
Martín Landajo (CASI)

Nicolás Sánchez (Bordeaux, France)

Marcelo Bosch (Saracens, England)
Santiago Fernández (Bayonne, France)
Javier Rojas (Universitario de Tucumán)
Gonzalo Tiesi (Unattached)

Horacio Agulla (Bath, England)
Juan Imhoff (Racing Métro, France)
Lucas González Amorosino (Oyonnax, France)

Santiago Cordero (Regatas)
Joaquín Tuculet (Bordeaux, France)  

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