Argentine international second-rower Manuel Carizza has been named to start for the Stormers against South African rivals the Lions this Saturday. The twenty-nine year old Puma will make his Super Rugby debut.
Carizza arrived at the Stormers after the completion of international competition in 2013. He had been involved in Argentina´s end of year European tour and also featured for the Barbarians in an exhibition match against Fiji at Twickenham. Playing for the Barbarians Carizza teamed-up with a number of players involved in the Springboks, and indeed members of the Stormers.
His move to South Africa marked an end to a near decade-long career as a professional rugby player in France. Carizza played for Biarritz from 2005-2012 and played the 2012-2013 season for Racing Métro. With his heavy involvement with Los Pumas the clubs were far from happy with him missing pre-season training and also Top 14 duty from August - early October.
A number of Pumas have remained in France while others have moved to England but Carizza is an important instance as he has gone deep into unknown territory as Argentina seek to be a part of a new Super Rugby environment with a team entering in 2016. Carizza could serve as a testing case for other players and he could also possibly encourage franchises to sign other Argentine players next season.
The Stormers had a bye last weekend. The match against the Lions is therefore to be the first of the season for the Cape Town based franchise. The forty time capped Puma will join Rynhardt Elstadt in the second-row while a host of notable Springboks will also start including captain Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger.