Saturday, February 14, 2015

Super Rugby: Three more Players Sign for Argentine Franchise

Crédito: Prensa UAR
The governing body of rugby in Argentina, the UAR has confirmed the signatures of three more players. Centre Santiago González Iglesias (pictured to the right), fullback Ramiro Moyano and loosehead prop Lucas Noguera Paz have all signed three year deals which will see them playing for Argentina's Super Rugby team in 2016 and 2017 and also be available at all times to represent Argentina and Los Jaguares when required. Also signing a one year deal is former Highlanders front-rower Matías Díaz. With the additional four contracts the UAR now has nineteen players under contract, of whom sixteen are on three-year deals.

A month before playing in the World Rugby Pacific Challenge Cup three more Pampas players have had their future protected. They can focus now on training in confidence knowing that a place at Rugby World Cup 2015 is the ultimate goal and performing well ought to see them selected. 

The three new additions are all players familiar to Daniel Hourcade and played tests under el huevo in 2014 but not so under Santiago Phelan. They are also players considered as being sound investments both for the present and the future. It continues with the theme of those already signed as Argentina is contracting for Super Rugby while looking towards Rugby World Cup 2019. 

Loosehead prop Lucas Noguera Paz is seen as the player to step into the shoes of Marcos Ayerza. The Leicester Tigers veteran is to retire from international duty after Rugby World Cup 2015 but remain playing in England. Aged just 21 Hourcade named Noguera Paz to start Argentina's two home tests v Ireland in June. He was then a replacement for Ayerza on seven occasions for remaining tests in 2014. Prior to 2014, however, he was uncapped. 

Fullback Ramiro played in the 2014 CONSUR Cup starting on the wing v Chile in Santiago and acting as a replacement v Uruguay in Paysandu. Together with Santiago Cordero he is considered as being one of the top two Argentine based fullbacks and they are the third and fourth overall behind the Cardiff Blues pairing of Joaquín Tuculet and Lucas González Amorosino.  

Utility inside and mid-field back Santiago González Iglesias experienced a Cinderella story in 2014. Having been overlooked by Phelan repeatedly Hourcade selected him ahead of French based players Benjamín Urdapilleta, Santiago Fernández, Juan Pablo Socino and Gonzalo Tiesi and was rewarded. González Iglesias filled the boots of injured players when required and proved to be an extremely reliable defender making him a realistic squad option not only at his natural position of fly half but also in both centre positions.

Unlike the three other signatories Matíaz Díaz was utilized during the Phelan era. At the age of 20 he was selected to start against South Africa at tighthead prop in the opening round of the 2013 Rugby Championship but was subsequently left out in favor of others. Hourcade selected him to start v Scotland in June 2014 but he was overlooked thereafter. His talent has seen him playing both in New Zealand and England despite him still being just 21 years of age. 

With the new players joining those to have previously signed the UAR now has sixteen players under contract for the coming three years. Noguera Paz, González Iglesias and Moyano join Martín Landajo, Guido Petti Pagadizábal, Pablo Matera, Rodrigo Báez, Matías Alemanno, Facundo Isa, Jerónimo De la Fuente, Manuel Montero, Tomás Lezana, Tomás Cubelli, Javier Ortega Desio, Gabriel Ascárate and Matías Orlando. Díaz joins hookers Santiago González Iglesias and Julián Montoya one contracts until the end of 2015.

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