|Chile v Tonga in 2010|
1. Chilean Player of the Year
Veteran Chilean front-rower Francisco Deformes has been voted Chilean Rugby Player of the Year. The 33 year old Los Condores prop has had a decorated career which has seen him play for CRC in Spain, Cavalieri Prato in Italy and Northland in New Zealand. The lack of rugby matches that Chile plays is reflected in Deformes only having been capped five times. He made his debut in 2010 against Tonga in the near upset in which Los Condores lost 32-30. Deformes´ four other tests matches saw him facing Portugal in 2012 and playing against Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina in the 2014 South American Championship.
2. Argentine Player of the Year
There are some surprises amongst the rugby finalists for the Premios Olimpia in Argentina. The three shortlisted rugby players are Los Pumas captain Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, centre Marcelo Bosch and Sevens player Matías Moroni. Performers of note Left out are the end of year captain Juan Manuel Leguizamón, rookie Pablo Matera, fly half Nicolás Sánchez and tighthead prop Juan Figallo. Of the three short listed the overwhelming favorite is Bosch who scored tries against South Africa and Australia. Regardless of who wins the finalists underline just how poor of a year 2013 was for Argentina as none of the three played in a winning Pumas side all year. Moroni is uncapped.
3. Two Argentine Players Sign for European Clubs
2014 is certain to feature notable changes to Los Pumas as Daniel Hourcade has already made it clear that he wants the 70% of the squad playing their rugby in Argentina. This radical change means that the UAR needs to keep more players at home and have a meaningful competition for them to play in. Los Pampas XV will play in the 2014 Pacific Cup but the squad is not yet known. Two props left Argentine this week to join second division European clubs. Uncapped Tomás Guillardón signed for the Bedford Blues in the RFU Championship while Ariel Castellina is returning to France to play for Colomiers. Castellina is a former Puma having played three tests in 2004 against Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela while Guillardón Paz is uncapped. Hourcade will need to prepare a Pumas front-row for the June internationals without props Figallo, Maximilano Bustos and Marcos Ayerza.
4. Maximilano Bustos v Marcos Ayerza
The two props themselves will be in action this weekend in the Heineken Cup. Bustos has been named to start at tighthead prop for Montpellier while Ayerza will start at looshead prop for the Leicester Tigers. The Pumas will, in other words, play head-to-head offering Argentina supporters a unique opportunity to see a battle between new teammates on the European stage. Bustos replaced the injured Figallo as thge starting tightrhead prop for the European tour. In doing so he joined Ayerza who became the first choice Pumas loosehead following the retirement of Rodrigo Roncero after the 2013 Rugby Championship.
5. Try & Tackle Podcast
Canadian rugby journalist Patrick Johnston was joined by Jeff Hull and Curtis Reed for the latest edition of the Podcast on Thursday on The Province. The trio talked about the highs and lows of the Dubai round of the IRB Sevens played last weekend, Canada´s attempt to juggle a number of home based players between Sevens and the senior test team. There was also an interview with Canadian womens Sevens players Kayla Moleschi.