Monday, October 21, 2013

Santiago Phelan hands in immediate resignation

Los Pumas headcoach Santiago Phelan has stepped down from his post as Los Pumas head coach with immediate effect. Argentine sporting website Olé has confirmed that Argentina´s upcoming tour of England, Italy and Wales will take place without Phelan. Taking his place will likely be Los Pampas XV and Los Jaguares coach Daniel Hourcade on a caretaker basis. The UAR is expected to announce it publicly this week. 

According to Olé Phelan is tired of infighting within Pumas staff and a worn relationship with some unnamed players has seen Tati Phelan hand in his resignation to the UAR. Phelan´s contract was to expire at the end of 2013 with his replacement set to take over in time for the 2014 international season but now having had a torrid time in the Rugby Championship the former Pumas backrower has exited his post at the eleventh hour as Argentina has a European tour fast approaching. Both Patricio Albacete and Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe made public criticisms of Phelan in 2012.

Fabian Turnes, Mauricio Reggiardo, Martín Gaitan, German Fernández and Raul Perez all remain and are likely to be joined by Hourcade for the tour. Hourcade coached Los Jaguares to a competition victory in the Americas Rugby Championship last week and arguably knows the players better than anybody else. It was Hourcade who convinced Julio Farías Cabello to return from France to Argentina to try to break into the test team. Hourcade has also seen countless Argentine players come through the system of Los Pampas XV and go on to play professional rugby abroad. 

Fos Hourcade the tour, according to Olé, could see him tested as to whether, or not, he has the qualities to be a Super Rugby coach due to Argentina´s likely entrance into the competition in 2016. Argentina is yet to have a squad named for the November internationals. It should be revealed within the next ten days. 

Phelan´s highlights as Pumas coach were victories over Wales in 2012, Italy in 2008, 2010 and 2012 in addition to wins over Scotland in 2009 and at Rugby World Cup 2011. He also coached Argentina to a record breaking win over France in Buenos Aires in 2010 and saw a depleted side win in Córdoba in 2012. Otherwise the performances were not so memorable as Argentina was hammered by both Australia and South Africa in the 2013 Rugby Championship and was unable to win matches in which Argentina dictated. Overall he coahced Argentina to 13 wins compared to 31 losses and one draw out of a total of 45 test matches.

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