Between abundance of surprises and the shortage of explanations, Michael Sheika left ample room for analysis. His first effective action as coach of the Cougars was the call for july window. Among Cougars Y Argentina XV, there are 63 players called to wear light blue and white. In both teams there were surprises, absences, bets and confirmations. Some respond to logical questions; others will require a justification from the new coach. All with a view to the France 2023 World Cup, the goal of this short process.
The closeness of the three test matches in view of Scotland With the end of the European leagues and the start of the Rugby Championship, they suggested that the squad for these matches (July 2, 9 and 16) would be made up of a mixture of experienced players who had not had a great wear in their leagues with others younger. However, with few exceptions, among the 33 that will be in Jujuy, Salta and Santiago del Estero are the best.
The return of Augustine Creevythe drop of Matthias Moronithe lack of replacement between the fly-halfs, the novelties between the scrum-half behind Thomas Cubelli and the absences of Sunday Miotti, Philip Ezcurra, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla Y Ramiro Moyano allow us to infer where Cheika is pointing.
The most prominent name, without a doubt, is that of Creevy. former captain it had not been considered by Mario Ledesma after the 2019 Japan World Cup and earned a place thanks to his great present in London Irish. At 37, he is one of the most active in the season: 25 games (24 as starter) and 18 tries scored between Premiership and Challenge Cup.
The other two pardoned by Cheika are also veterans: John Imhoff (34 years old) and Benjamin Urdapilleta (35). The presence of the Rosario wing is explained by its hierarchy. That of the opening of CUBA, also, due to the shortcomings in the position. Do they make it to the World Cup? If they are at a high level today, they might as well be a year from now.
Among the casualties, the most prominent is that of Moroniwhich was included in the squad of Argentina XV and not in the Pumas. It is unknown if it is for performance, discipline or rest. Moroni is one of the most representative players of the team for the dedication he provides in each game and is mostly a starter in the powerful Leicester Tigers, top of the English league. And he did not have a great wear to be preserved: 14 games in the Premiership (nine from the start) plus three in the Champions Cup (two). In his position are Matthias Orlandowho due to injury did not play in 2021, and Lucio Cintione of the pleasant recent appearances.
The presence of Urdapilleta responds in part to its intact quality and in part to the lack of variants in the opening position. Despite not being at his best, Nicholas Sanchez He deserves the vote of confidence for everything he gave to the light blue and white shirt. The third in question is Santiago Carreras, who wore number 10 in the last games of Ledesma’s cycle, although at his club (Gloucester) he is 15th wing. In the second team appear Thomas Albornoz (Benetton) and Geronimo Prisciantelli (Jaguars XV), two new men.
Among the openings, Miotti and Díaz Bonilla were not taken into account, who have few minutes in their respective clubs. Another player who had a large participation in recent years and was totally omitted is the scrum-half Ezcurra. Contrary to what happened with Creevy, they did not receive a new opportunity Moyano, well present in Scotland, nor Santiago Garcia Botta, important piece of Harlequins in a position, left prop, in which he does not have much experience; his last game for the Pumas was in November 2018.
Behind Cubelli appear new names. Without Ezcurra, with Gonzalo Bertranou relegated to Argentina XV, the alternatives are Gonzalo Garciaof great presence in the Italian league, and Lautaro Bazan Velez, one of the figures of Pumas 7s, who in the last five years, after finishing his stage in Pumitas, barely played nine international rugby games of 15 (in Argentina XV). In the second team there are also novelties: behind Bertranou is Elisha Moralesfrom Salta who stood out in Cafeteros Pro in the recent American Super League.
There are some stalls that feature interesting battles on both campuses that are worth keeping an eye on. The Pumas’ third hooker, behind Creevy and Montoya, has been a topic since 2016. Facundo BoschEuropean champion from La Rochelle, is in Argentina XV, the same as Santiago Socionowho was in Japan 2019. In the Pumas he receives a new opportunity to debut Ignatius Ruiz (21 years old), one of the best of Jaguares XV, after joining the squad in the Rugby Championship and in the tour of Europe in 2021, without stepping on the pitch. Also in the second line appear new members with the possibility of fighting for a place in France: lucas paulos (Pau) in the Pumas and Rodrigo Fernandez Criado (Jaguars), Franco Molina (Selknam) and Federico Lavani (Coffee Growers Pro) in Argentina XV.