Wednesday, December 10, 2014

RWC 2015: Contenders to Represent Argentina - The Second-row

Photo Créditos: UAR
In the second of an eight part series Argentina 2023 takes a look into the players in contention for a place in Argentina's squad for Rugby World Cup 2015.  The two-player position of second-row is one in which Los Pumas headcoach Daniel Hourcade made some telling selections in 2014 as previous first choice players found themselves out of the team with a new generation replacing them. The specialist nature of the position requires four players in a World Cup squad of thirty players. El huevo has made it clear that he is looking at having four players per position to be halved by late June for the final stage of Rugby World Cup preparation. Eight players are therefore to be short-listed with four of them representing their country in England and Wales. Who then is Hourcade monitoring for a place in the prestigious global event?


Second-row
A bitter dispute between Patricio Albacete and Daniel Hourcade saw the career of the three-time Rugby World Cup participant ended. Albacete did not play a test in 2014 after calling coach Hourcade a liar. His comments were supported by Julio Farías Cabello who also was not called upon for international duty.

Albacete and Fariás Cabello had been regulars under Phelan as had Manuel Carizza but his involvement was restricted to the June internationals were he started in combination with Tomás Lavanini against Ireland and Matías Alemanno against Scotland. Carizza was then release to return to South Africa to play the Currie Cup.

There would be no recall for Carizza at all for the remainder of 2014 despite Argentina suffering injuries in his position. Lavanini, Alemanno and Lucas Ponce would start against Chile and Uruguay and Lavanini was utilized in a first choice second-row combination together with Mariano Galarza in the Rugby Championship. When Lavanini was suspended there was no call-up with Alemanno replacing him from the bench and back-rower Benjamín Macome covering the position.

Argentina's win over the Wallabies saw Galarza injured late in the piece and subsequently requiring shoulder surgery. In his place Hourcade named both Guido Petti Pagadizaval and Juan Cruz Guillemaín in the November squad together with Alemanno and Lavanini. Cruz Guillemaín made his test debut v Scotland and Petti did so v Scotland and Alemanno was forced out which saw not Carizza but Lucas Ponce joined the team.

The 2014 selection at both left and right second-row was truly revolutionary. Of the players only Galarza had previously started a test match with Phelan having used Farías Cabello ahead of him as the go-to-man when either Albacete or Carizza would be unavailable. Another not selected in 2014 is Tomás Vallejos Cinalli who Phelan took to Rugby World Cup 2011 and played in the 2012 Rugby Championship.

In 2014 Ponce featured in both the Tbilisi Cup in Georgia and the Americas Rugby Championship in Canada. Other ssecond-rowers involved for Los Jaguares were Martín Chiappessoni and Lucas Maguire in the Tbilisi Cup while Alemanno, Petti and Ponce played in the Americas Rugby Championship.

Eight Contenders - Matías Alemanno, Manuel Carizza, Juan Cruz Guillemaín, Mariano Galarza, Tomás Lavanini, Guido Petti Pagadadizaval, Lucas Ponce, Tomás Vallejos Cinalli

Other Positions
The Front-row


Player
Position
Age
Club
Union
Matías Alemanno
Second-row
23
La Tablada
Córdoba
Manuel Carizza
Second-row
30
Stormers
South Africa
Juan Cruz Guillemaín
Second-row
22
Stade Français
France
Mariano Galarza
Second-row
27
Gloucester
England
Tomás Lavanini
Second-row
21
Racing Métro
France
Guido Petti
Second-row
20
SIC
URBA
Lucas Ponce
Second-row
24
CUBA
URBA
Tomás Vallejos Cinalli
Second-row
30
Treviso
Italy

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