Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Super Rugby: UAR sign de la Fuente, Isa and Montero

Photo UAR
The number of Argentine players contracted to the UAR has increased by three. Pumas Jerónimo de La Fuente, Facundo Isa and Manuel Montero have all agreed to terms to join the Buenos Aires based team set to compete in the 2016 Super Rugby competition. The trio were all involved in the November 2014 tour of Europe starting at least one test each. They join Matías Alemanno, Rodrigo Báez, Martín Landajo, Pablo Matera and Guido Petti on three-year central contracts which will see them available to represent Argentina at all times and play Super Rugby in 2016 and 2017.

Following the signature of scrumhalf Martín Landajo late last week the UAR has been able to secure the services of seven other young noteworthy players as the philosophy of Agustín Pichot and Daniel Hourcade continues to suggest the future of Argentine rugby has been secured. Centre Jerónimo De la Fuente, winger Manuel Montero and back-rower Facundo Isa are all players expected to feature in Rugby World Cup 2015 and all will do so under central contracts.

The three players all have detailed histories as Argentine junior players. de La Fuente debuted for Argentina in 2014 playing in the South American Championship before being retained for the June tests and also playing as a replacement in the Rugby Championship. He started against Italy, scoring the winning try in Genoa. He was selected by Hourcade after precviously playing for Los Pumitas at the 2012 and 2013 Junior World Championships.

Facundo Isa also played at junior level with distinction, joining de La Fuente at the same Junior World Championships. So much so that he was signed by Toulon before making his test debut for Argentina. He receieved game time for the French champions before being convinced to return home to join PladAR and prepare for a rise to Los Pumas. This indeed eventuated with Isa making the move from Los Jaguares in October to Los Pumas in November 2014 and starting in the wins over Italy and France. 

Known as 'La Pantera', Manuel Montero has quickly become known as one of Argentina's best finishers and is considered by many as the odds-on-favorite to start on the left wing in a combination with Juan Imhoff at Rugby World Cup 2015. Montero impressed for Los Pumitas in the 2010 and 2011 Junior World Championships and was also a force in 2009 and 2010 for the under 19 side. In 2014 Hourcade displayed confidence by selecting him to start against elite opposition and was rewarded with Montero scoring impressive tries against Ireland, South Africa and Australia.

Of the three knew Argentine Super Rugby players two come from outside of Greater Buenos Aires Facundo Isa is from Santiago del Estero and comes from the same club that produced Juan Manuel Leguizamón while Jerónimo de La Fuente is from Juan Imhoff's club, Duendes, in Rosario. The UAR's post 2007 expansion policies and the PladAR academies have seen more players playing for the test side from outside of Buenos Aires. 

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