Twenty-seven year old Benjamín Macome will play for Bayonne following the completion of the Rugby Championship it was confirmed this afternoon. The Argentine number 8 is to start against the All Blacks this Saturday in La Plata, replacing the injured Juan Manuel Leguizamón. His selection is one based on far more than injury, however, as prior to the Rugby Championship Macome had been singled out as a likely starter.
Macome made his international debut in 2009 against Chile but was kept out of the first choice Pumas team until Daniel Houracde became headcoach in late 2013. Macome was selected to start at number 8 against Italy and impressed. The Tucumán forward proved to be very physical around the park and a leading ball-carrier. Previously his test starts under Phelan had been limited to playing in the second-row.
Hourcade knew Macome very well due to both being from Tucumán and also their involvement together in the Pampas XV. With Macome free to represent Argentina in the June 2014 internationals Hourcade selected him at the back of the scrum, thus retaining him there from the test against Italy. Macome played well but, sadly, was forced out for two months with a broken arm.
Having now recovered Macome has returned to the senior squad and will start against New Zealand in La Plata on Saturday. The new-look Pumas back-row sees Macome playing on the side of the scrum with Leonardo Senatore having been retained in his specialist position. The two players are both to be returning to Europe shortly with Senatore playing his second season for Worcester and Macome linking up with Bayonne.
The move to France's south-west comes after he played last season for Stade Français also as a medical joker. He was, curiously, coached by former Puma Gonzalo Quesada and is now to be coached by Patricio Noriega who was capped by both Argentina and Australia. The club is also home to former Pumas Martín Bustos Moyano and Santiago Fernández.