Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rabo Direct Pro 12: Tomás Vallejos Cinalli signs for Treviso


Photo Rugby Meet
Former Puma Tomás Vallejos Cinalli is on his way back to play professional rugby in Italy for a second time. Having previously played for both Crociati Parma the Rosario second-rower will now join up with Benetton Treviso, one of Italy's two teams involved in the Rabo Direct Pro 12. The Italian club announced the arrival of Vallejos Cinalli on a contract which will see him continue his career in the country which he first played as a professional. Vallejos Cinalli has also played in England, Wales and Japan. 

Having began his professional career at Parma in Italy Vallejos Cinalli moved to England to play for the Harlequins in 2010. He made a total of 37 appearances for the club, including being on the bench for the 2012 final in which the Harlequins defeated the Leicester Tigers 30-23 to be crowned English champions. 

While at the Harlequins Vallejos Cinalli also won the Amlin Challenge Cup and he moved to Wales after the 2012 Rugby Championship. He made eight appearances for the Welsh Region before gaining release in February 2013 to return to Argentina and play for the Pampas XV in the Vodacom Cup. He subsequently signed for Japanese side the Coca Cola West Red Sparks with whom he played for in 2013 before the current opportunity came about for a return to Italy.

Still aged 29 the international future of Vallejos Cinalli is far from over. The second-rower was selected by Santiago Phelan for Argentina's Rugby World Cup squad in 2011 and he made his international debut in the pool match against Georgia. he was retained by Phelan in 2012 and made one appearance in the Rugby Championship from the bench before also acting as a replacement in the tour matches against Wales and France. He final cap came in 2013 against Georgia in San Juan.

His move to Italy opens up the opportunity for him to play his way back into contention for international duty. In the 2012 Rugby Championship Vallejos Cinalli was behind starters Patricio Albacete and Manuel Carizza and utility Julio Farías Cabello. Of the three none were amongst the squad announced by Daniel Hourcade to train in the USA ahead of the 2014 competition. 

Selected were Tomás Lavanini, Matías Alemanno and Mariano Galarza who missed the 2012 Rugby Championship through injury. The future of Albacete as a Puma is very uncertain while Farías Cabello's test career has reached its conclusion and Carizza is expected to return to the squad following the completion of the Super Rugby season. 

Hourcade will have his eyes on Vallejos Cinalli as he searches for a larger group of forty or more players to be in the frame for Rugby World Cup 2015. Should he be able to secure regular game time for Benetton Treviso in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 and the European Rugby Champions Cup he will severely increase his chances of future international selection.

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