|Photo Rugby Time|
Twenty-one year old Argentine international tighthead prop Matías Díaz has signed a short-term contract to play in England for Bristol. Confirmation of his arrival was made by Bristol Rugby earlier today with the club being very pleased to have acquired his services. Díaz joins having played the 2015 Super Rugby season in New Zealand for the Highlanders. He has not been selected for international duty since June and will now have an opportunity to press his claims for further test match honors.
Having completed a season of Super Rugby in New Zealand with the Highlanders the professional career of Matías Díaz is set to continue with him having signed a two month deal to play in England. His move to Bristol will be his second contract outside of Argentina despite him still being aged just twenty-one.
Spotted at a young age Díaz was selected for Argentina before playing for Los Pumitas. he masde his international debut against Uruguay in the 2013 South American Championship and subsequently faced both Brazil and Chile. With Marcos Ayerza injured and Maximiliano Bustos out of the squad Díaz was named at tighthead in a front-row featuring Eusebio Guiñazú and Juan Figallo.
The test in Johannesburg was his only start in the Rugby Championship, a tournament in which he made a second appearance against Australia in the final round match in Rosario. The arrival of Daniel Hourcade in place of Santiago Phelan saw Díaz play just once in the November 2013 tour and twice in June 2014. Hourcade decided against selecting him for the Rugby Championship with Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chapparo and Ramiro Herrera being preferred.
Bristol narrowly missed out on winning promotion to the Aviva Premiership last season but this time around is looking very likely to win England's second division, the RFU Championship. Seven rounds into the 2014-2015 season Bristol leads the competition and remains undefeated. The team that defeated Bristol to win promotion, London Welsh, is yet to win a match all season and is the odds-on-favorite to be relegated from the Aviva Premiership to the RFU Championship.
Díaz, thus has a two month trial period to prove his worth with the club and should he receive similar or better opportunities than was the case with the Highlanders he could very well be playing on a long term contract with Bristol and doing so in the Aviva Premiership.
At Bristol Díaz is to be one of two former Pumas. The other being Gastón Cortes who has four test caps for Argentina and, like Díaz, is a tighthead prop. His rivals for a tighthead birth in Argentina's Rugby World Cup squad are all playing at the elite level. the three leading players being Figallo (Saracens), Tetaz Chaparro (Lyon) and Herrera (Castres).