|Photo: The Province|
Twenty year old Argentine fly half Patricio Fernández has signed a contract with French giants Clermont Auvergne. The news was reported by Argentine site Olé who reported that the Rosario play-maker traveled to France last Thursday to meet with Clermont officials and sign a contract. Since then it has been confirmed that the Pumita has joined the central French side on a two year contract starting in February. Him moving to France will be his first experience as a professional and is encouraging news for fans of Los Pumas as Fernández has been widely considered to be the probably back-up option for Nicolás Sánchez at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and Wales.
Fernández holds the world record for the total number of points scored by a player at the IRB Junior World Championship. He played in the 2013 and 2014 IRB Junior World Championships and prior to that was a member of Argentina's under 19 and under 18 teams. Performances at the junior level earned him praise and place in Los Jaguares who most recently won the Americas Rugby Championship in Canada.
Despite not yet having played for the senior side under Daniel Hourcade it would appear to just be a matter of time. Fernández played twice for Argentina in the 2013 South American Championship and trained with the senior squad during the 2013 Rugby Championship under Santiago Phelan.
With Hourcade having replaced Phelan in October 2013 changes transpired in the selection and Hourcade had big plans for Fernández. But with the IRB Junior World Championship coinciding with the home internationals in June Hourcade did not select Fernández and he subsequently opted to utilize 26 year old Santiago González Iglesias rather than Fernández who was 19 in the Rugby Championship.
This far in 2014 González Iglesias has provided cover for both fly half and inside centre and is in contention for a place in Saturday's team to face Italy in Genoa. His selection comes ahead of Benjamín Urdapilleta and Santiago Fernández, two places receiving regular game time in the Top 14. Patricio Fernández is now set to become the latest Argentine pivot in the French championship and his destination bodes well for 2015 both for him and his country.