|Leguizamón rather than Albacete will captain Argentina this month|
The off-field concerns that developed during the final months of the Santiago Phelan era have had severe consequences that have become all to clear today as new Puma coach Daniel Hourcade has named 52 time capped Juan Manuel Leguizamón as the Pumas captain for the November tour of England, Wales and Italy.
The confirmation that the obvious candidate to captain the country, Patricio Albacete will not lead the team underlines the damage done. Albacete had been the Pumas vice-captain in 2012 but having criticized the UAR late last year he was no longer the second in command in 2013. With Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe unable to face South Africa this year the captaincy was handed to Felipe Contepomi. But with the former Bristol, Leinster, Toulon and Stade Français play-maker having hung up his boots Hourcade was in need of finding a new leader.
Although no announcement has been made Leguizamón has been confirmed as the captain with UAR President Luis Castillo saying so on Twitter. The UAR will confirm Leguizamón as captain later on today and do so with the presence of Fernández Lobbe who is with the team in London. Leguizamón therefore leads a team that will feature not only Albacete but also another in consideration - Agustín Creevy, whould he recover from the injury he sustained playing for the Worcester Warriors against Bath on Friday.
Leguizamón is a veteran in every sense of the word. He has been playing professional rugby in Europe sine 2005 and made his test debut during the same year. His debut was against Japan in April 2005 and the following month he was starting against the British and Irish Lions at the Millennium Stadium in place of the non-released Gonzalo Longo. Leguizamón´s performance saw him retained and become a permanent squad member and it also saw him signed to play for London Irish in the Guinness Premiership, now known as the Aviva Premiership.
After three seasons in England Leguizamón moved to Paris to play for Stade Français and after three seasons there be moved to his current club, Lyon. He signed for Lyon to play in the Top 14 and did so but the club was relegated to the Pro d2 and remains there. It is currently leading the French second division and heavy favorite to be one of the two teams to secure promotion to the Top 14.
Leguizamón will be a popular choice with many due to him being from northern Argentina. He is from the city of Santiago del Estero, located near Tucumán which is the home town of Hourcade. Leguizamón was one of only four players not from Buenos Aires in the thirty man squad that finished third in Rugby World Cup 2007. Prior to playing for Argentina Leguizamón was a Pumita, representing Argentina at both the Under 19 and Under 21 levels. Northern Argentina´s favorite son will now captain Los Pumas in a tough tour but will do so with the complete backing of his coach, players and nation.