Wednesday, November 20, 2013

5 Argentines in Barbarians squad to face Fiji

Young Santiago Cordero has been
called to the Barbarians squad
Fiji are to face the Barbarians next weekend as the final game in their 100th year celebrations. The invitational squad is excusively made up of Southern Hemisphere players and includes 5 Argentines props Matías Díaz, Guillermo Roan, Manuel Carizza, Martín Landajo and Santiago Cordero all of whom play for the Baabaas for the first time and will be under the coaching of All Blacks Steve Hansen.

The Barbarians squad is predominantly made up of players from New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina. The only exception being Gavin Williams of Samoa. The squad shows that they have virtually no success in getting European based players called up, with the only ones being Roan and Williams both at lowly clubs.

The reason for no European based players being called up is due to the game being outside the international release window. Their opposition Fiji has a number of their top players based in Europe and don't have the funds to get them released like England do, so the match could likely be a half strength Fiji, which makes the scheduling of the match at an 80,000 stadium a bit odd. It is unclear at this stage how many players the Fijian will lose.

This is an important game for the Barbarians as despite having a pretty strong squad on paper for some very bug June tests with England and the British & Irish Lions the Barbarians played poorly and the games ended up being pretty poor spectacles. Their brand has suffered in professionalism with many questioning whether they are relevant in modern day and are essentially surviving purely on the past traditions. Regardless of the result against Fiji (they really should win considering their squad) the spectacle of the game is important.

From an Argentine point of view this is a good chance for the five involved. Especially young Santiago Cordero, rated as one of the most exciting talents in Argentina, he still remains very inexperienced and it could be a good learning experience for him.

Barbarians squad to face Fiji:
LH: Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira (SA), Coenie Oosthuizen (SA)
HK: Bismarck du Plessis (SA), Keven Mealamu (NZ)
TH: Matías Díaz (Arg), Guillermo Roan (Arg)
LK: Eben Etzebeth (SA), Dominic Bird (NZ), Manuel Carizza (Arg)
FL: Schalk Burger (SA), Steven Luatua (NZ), Luke Whitelock (NZ)
N8: Duane Vermeulen (SA)
SH: TJ Perenara (NZ), Martín Landajo (Arg)
FH: Pat Lambie (SA), Tom Taylor (NZ)
CT: Jean de Villiers (SA), Gavin Williams (Sam)
WG: Charles Piutau (NZ), Santiago Cordero (Arg), Frank Halai (NZ)
FB: Willie le Roux (SA)

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