By Cecilia Canazza
Argentina Under 20 coaches Bernardo Urdaneta and Facundo Soler have unveiled the squad to tour South Africa next month as part of their preparations for the IRB Junior World Championship 2012 in the same country in June.
The tour has become an annual fixture between the two teams, played either in South Africa or Argentina, and taken on extra importance with both to face northern hemisphere teams coming off the back of the RBS Under 20 Six Nations in the JWC 2012 pool stages.
Urdaneta and Soler have the players together for a three-day camp before a match against Salta on Saturday. The squad then arrives in South Africa on Easter Monday and will play three matches on tour, two against the Baby Boks and one against a South Africa XV.
The last match on 21 April, against the Baby Boks, will be played at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, one of two venues being used for the IRB Junior World Championship from 4-22 June, giving both teams the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their surroundings.
“We are unfortunately a very isolated country and don’t get a chance to play all year round at this age group, unlike Europe,” explained Rodolfo Ambrosio, the Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) Director of High Performance.
“We acknowledge that the Baby Boks are one of the strongest Under 20 squads, and the Pumitas are going to South Africa with the objective of learning, experimenting and, of course, being competitive.
“For the next Junior World Championship we want to give the Pumitas the opportunity to experience it in the best of ways, our objective is for our players to grow and to train to be Pumas in the future.”
Argentina finished ninth in last year’s Junior World Championship in Italy and will face 2010 runners up Australia, France and Scotland in Pool C. South Africa failed to reach the semi finals for the first time in 2011 and face three European teams – England, Ireland and Italy – in Pool C.
Argentina Under 20 squad for South Africa tour:
Forwards: Federico Aguiar (Hindú Club URBA), Tomás Bruno (Urú Curé Cordobesa), Matías Diaz (Teqüé RC Cuyo), Santiago García Botta (Belgrano Athletic URBA), Juan Cruz Guillemaín (Jockey Club Cuyo), Santiago Iglesias (Universitario Tucumán), Facundo Isa (Santiago Lawn Tennis Club Santiagueña), Pablo Matera (Asociación Alumni URBA), Julián Montoya (Club Newman URBA), Gaspar Oberti (Urú Curé Cordobesa), Rodrigo Parad Heit (Córdoba Athletic Cordobesa), Leandro Ramela (Atlético del Rosario URBA), Matías Sambrán (Córdoba Athletic Cordobesa), Mariano Sánchez (Tucumán RC Tucumán), Ladislao Uriburu (Jockey Club Salta).
Backs: Rodolfo Ambrosio(Tala RC Cordobesa), Juan Ignacio Brex (San Cirano URBA), Juan Capiello (Pucará URBA), Lautaro Casado (Urú Curé Cordobesa), Santiago Cordero (Regatas de Bella Vista URBA), Franco Cuaranta (Tala RC Cordobesa), Felipe Escurra (Hindú Club URBA), Matías Frías Silva (Tucumán RC Tucumán), Germán Klubus (Pucará URBA), Felipe Nogués (La Tablada Cordobesa), Joaquín Paz (Córdoba Athletic Cordobesa), Sebastián Poet (Atlético del Rosario URBA), Gonzalo Ruiz (Tala RC Cordobesa).