Monday, April 27, 2015

International Rugby: Pumas named to face USA Selects

Argentine international rugby head coach Daniel Hourcade has named his first team for the year. Argentina is to host the first of two non-capped international matches against the USA Eagles' 'A' side the USA Select XV on Tuesday in Salta. Scrumhalf Tomás Cubelli will captain a side consisting of Pampas XV squad members, many of whom have signed Super Rugby contracts with the UAR. The opportunity is crucial to many dreaming of being selected to represent Argentina at Rugby World Cup 2015. Of those selected nine started for full-strength Pumas teams under Hourcade against Tier One opposition in 2014. 

Belgrano Athletic scrumhalf Tomás Cubelli is to captain Argentina in the first assignment of the year. In doing so Cubelli continues to be preferred ahead of Martín Landajo who had been the leading Argentine scrumhalf in terms of test match starts from 2012 to late 2014. Cubelli will form a halves combination with Santiago González Iglesias, a player signed to the UAR on a Super Rugby contract. 

The mid-field combination is also professional. Both Jerónimo De la Fuente and Matías Moroni have signed long term deals with the UAR and both are in Hourcade's thinking for the World Cup and beyond. Indeed, despite having European based professionals such as Gonzalo Tiesi, Santiago Fernández and Juan Pablo Socino available in 2014, Hourcade opted for De la Fuente and Moroni. 

The starting wingers have also both signed with the UAR. Manuel Montero was used in the senior side throughout 2014 and with positive results. Ramiro Moyano, in contrast, is a fringe player behind the European based Juan Imhoff, Horacio Agulla, Lucas González Amorosino and Joaquín Tuculet. He is in competition with these players in addition to Santiago Cordero who will start at fullback. 

The back-row is another area in which Hourcade has named Super Rugby contracted players. The trio of Pablo Matera, Javier Ortega Desio and Facundo Isa are all going to play for the Argentine franchise and all started tests against elite opposition under Hourcade in 2014. Similarly the second-row of Matías Alemanno and Guido Petti Pagadizabal is a combination for the future. With both starting important test matches last year they are two in serious consideration for World Cup places. 

The one area of the team that is arguably of a lower caliber is that of the front-row. Although Matías Díaz, Bruno Postiglioni and Julián Montoya are all names used by Hourcade previously none of them were involved in the 2014 end of year European tour. Postiglioni and Montoya are to start ahead of Lucas Noguera Paz and Matías Cortese, players who were reserves for Marcos Ayerza and Agustín Creevy for most of 2014. 

The match is to take place at the Jockey Club de Salta on Tuesday April 28. Kick-off is scheduled for 3:40pm. 

Bruno Postiglioni
Julián Montoya
Matías Díaz
Guido Petti
Matías Alemanno
Pablo Matera
Javier Ortega Desio
Facundo Isa
Tomás Cubelli
Santiago González Iglesias
Manuel Montero
Jerónimo De La Fuente
Matías Moroni
Ramiro Moyano
Santiago Cordero
Matías Cortese
Lucas Noguera Paz
Roberto Tejerizo
Gerónimo Albertario
Lisandro Ahualli de Chazal
Martín Landajo
Bautista Ezcurra
Matías Orlando

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