Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Matías Díaz signs to play Super Rugby for the Highlanders

Díaz carries against Wales in the 2012 Junior World Championship
With Marcos Ayerza unable to represent Argentina in the opening match of the 2013 Rugby Championship under 20 tighthead prop Matíaz Diaz was called upon to start at tighthead prop in a front-row which saw regular tighthead Juan Figallo move to loosehead. Díaz did not make the biggest impact but he has been able to impress New Zealand Super Rugby franchise the Highlanders as the Dunedin based team has signed the Puma.

The Otago Daily Times confirmed the rumour on Wednesday local time with Díaz set to move to Dunedin in November. Playing Super Rugby will be an ideal move for him to develop as a player and for Argentina to be able to select him at all times should be remain in the frame for international duty. Argentina was unable to use any of its four leading props for the June internationals due to Ayerza, Figallo, Nahuel Lobo and Juan Pablo Orlandi all having to be rested due to an agreement with European clubs. 

Díaz made his test debut for Argentina in the 2013 South American Championship against Uruguay. He also faced both Brazil and Chile but was not in the team to play England and Georgia in June due to his involvement in the IRB Junior World Championship in France. Together with Pablo Matera and Tomás Lavanini Díaz went on to make the Pumas squad and play in the 2013 Rugby Championship. Lavanini has been strongly linked to a move to the Chiefs while Matera may join him in playing Super Rugby thoguh there are offers from Europe with Toulon being very interested. Should he move to Toulon he would join another Argentine under 20 player, Facundo Isa.

Born in Mendoza Díaz continues in the changed representation of Pumas players in recent years as the team continues to have more players from more of Argentina. The front-row that started in Soweto was made up of players from Mendoza and Salta and there were also three starting players from Rosario and one from Tucumán. By way of comparison the squad for Rugby World Cup 2007 had twenty-six players from Buenos Aires. 

Many Pumas supporters are wanting other young Pumas players such as Patricio Fernández, Santiago Cordero and those mentioned above to not play in Europe and instead remain in Argentina or join a Super Rugby franchise. 

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