Friday, May 23, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Juan Figallo joins Saracens on three year contract

Photo Mundod Lavoz
Argentine international tighthead prop Juan Figallo will not be remaining in France. After five years playing for Montpellier the twenty-six year old will be continuing his professional career in England for the London based club Saracens. Figallo confirmed he had come to terms with the Aviva Premiership club in an interview.  The move brings into doubt his future with Los Pumas due to the UAR's soon to be imposed policy of not selecting players based outside of Argentina for international duty. The new regulation will come into effect after Rugby World Cup 2015.

Named by former Scottish international and British and Irish Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan as the best player from Pool B of Rugby World Cup 2011 Juan Figallo is now going to be playing his rugby in the U.K. Figallo was a part of the front-row which faced both England and Scotland in Rugby World Cup 2011 and has subsequently underlined his reputation as arguably being the leading tighthead prop in world rugby after impressing in the Rugby Championship.

His quality has attracted interest from multiple parties and with him missing the entire 2013-2014 club season for Montpellier he has joined the exodus of Pumas from the club. In 2012 Montpellier was home to Figallo, Martín Bustos Moyano, Maximilano Bustos, Agustín Creevy, Santiago Fernández and Lucas González Amorosino. With Figallo departing for England five have now moved to rivals clubs in either France or England. 

The club was displeased with being heavaily impacted by the 2012 Rugby Championship and acted by not holding on to the players. The international competition not only meant that Pumas would be late to link up with the club but players would also arrive tired, lacking the same performances. There were also instances of players missing matches through injury which, in the case of Figallo, saw the player from Salta miss the entire, soon to be completed, season.

He leaves the club after having requested an early end to his three year contract but does so having made the request himself. His move to England is based primarily on differing laws emplyed by the LNR in France and Premier Rugby in England. His cervical injury was diagnosed as being G3 which falls outside of the requirements to obtain a LNR player licence but not so in Premier Rugby.

Figallo is still on the road to recovering from a back injury. It is unclear when he will play again but he has been at the Athletes Perfomance in Pensacola, Florida, USA undergoing rehabilitation with an eye to representing Argentina in the Rugby Championship. Although the treatment was highly successful Figallo is not yet 100% fit and ready for international rugby. 

It is yet to be confirmed whether Figallo will or will not play for Argentina in the Rugby Championship. A decision will be made over time but with Maximilano Bustos having been ruled out of rugby for an indefinite period Argentina will be working hard to ensure Figallo can play in the Rugby Championship.

Figallo will double the number of Argentine players at Saracens. The club is to face Toulon in Saturday's Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff with Marcelo Bosch starting at outside centre. Bosch is off contract with Saracens at the completion of next season while Figallo's new contract will see him remain in England for two full seasons after Rugby World Cup 2015. 

With him remaining outside of Argentina until 2017 he will not be able to play for Los Pumas after the World Cup. Should the new policy set to be implemented by the UAR in 2016 indeed occur then Figallo will miss out on playing for his country in 2016 and 2017

1 comment:

  1. Following this "bad news", I want to see the other article about Hourcade shaking things up. He'll have to if them up north keep signing long term contracts.

    Mark, the man in Japan.