|Photo El Siglo|
Casualties of the home test series against Ireland Gabriel Ascárate and Benjamín Macome are now being forced to sit out much more than this Friday's home international against Scotland in Córdoba. Both players suffered long term injuries against Ireland and face lengthily recoveries which will force Los Pumas Headcoach Daniel Hourcade into selecting different players in their positions. In a blow for Argentine rugby and for the players themselves both Ascárate and Macome are now set to miss the Rugby Championship.
The 2013-2014 season was of note for both players. Having been underused by Santiago Phelan both players were named by Daniel Hourcade in Argentina's touring squad for the November tests against England, Wales and Italy. The pairing not only received game time but both started for Los Pumas. Ascárate did so at inside centre, the same position he would start against Ireland in Resistencia and Tucumán while Benjamín Macome did so at the back of the scrum.
Their performances both at the time and earlier had attracted interest from European clubs. Ascárate had previously played in France's second division before joining the Glasgow Warriors for the 2013-2014 season while Macome joined Stade Français as a medical joker. Both players received a fair share of game time which had them well placed for the June internationals.
The vast majority of players selected in the current squad were done so with an eye to the Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup 2015. Indeed both Ascárate and Macome were expected to be named in the squad and even push for places in the starting line-up.Instead both players now face long recoveries and Hourcade will need to prepare for the Rugby Championship without them.
In the first test, in Resistencia, Macome had been one of the best forwards in the match, impressing as a ball-carrier. Although he played the full match it was revealed afterwards that he had fractured the radius of his left arm and would be out of rugby for two or three months. Should he be able to recover rapidly then he could be fit to play in Argentina's home matches against New Zealand and Australia. His involvement in earlier fixtures will not be possible.
Starting at inside centre Ascárate left the match injured in the second test. Like Macome Ascárate is from Tucumán but the chance of playing in front of his family and friends was not the occasion he may have desired. He ruptured a cruciate ligament in his right knee. The severity of the injury was such that Ascárate requires a six month recovery and will therefore not play rugby again in 2014.