Americas Rugby News – TEAM OF THE WEEK
Last week we were flush with candidates but a week later and Europe has given us little to work with. The Jaguares also had the week off which left us with only one Super Rugby player to look at. Thankfully domestic rugby is in the swing of things and provides the bulk of the squad through the Argentine Nacional de Clubes and of course Major League Rugby preseason action.
1 – Francisco Ferronato (Belgrano) It’s possible that this man has the highest try-ratio by any prop playing competitive rugby anywhere in the world. He scored two more as he captained his team against Tala on the weekend. That brings his total to 30 in 46 domestic games since March 2016. That’s an excellent strike ratio for a winger, never mind a card-carrying member of the front row!
2 – Eric Howard (NOLA Gold) The Canadian has his eyes set on a recall for the June tests and produced an eye-catching effort against Austin. One try scored from in tight and a number of strong clear-outs as the Gold got back on track in New Orleans. New York’s Dylan Fawsitt also enjoyed a fine game against Boston that included a cameo as a try-scoring winger.
3 – Nicolás Leiva (Hindú) Singled out as a potential Pumas prospect by new Jaguares coach Mario Ledesma, the 21-year-old anchored the set piece against Tucumán Lawn Tennis. He isn’t just an awkward scrummager, Leiva is mobile and worked his way over for a try in the second half to seal the win.
4 – Tyler Ardron (Chiefs) Not as flashy as the week before but against a much tougher Highlanders side the Canadian held his own. Strong work rate around the field and a prime target in the lineout. Will he make it three games in a row against the Blues?
5 – Nate Brakeley (New York) Showed why he is in the Eagles mix with a strong contribution against Boston. The set piece and tight-loose were dominated by New York, with Brakeley forming a high efficiency engine room partnership with former Ireland ‘A’ rep David Gannon.
6 – Facundo Isa (Toulon) A force to be reckoned with once more though ultimately the Champions Cup Quarter Final match ended in a frustrating defeat to Munster. Isa’s overseas form may have single-handedly convinced Argentine administrators to end the embargo on overseas players in the Pumas.
7 – John Quill (Glendale Raptors) The hard line that took him in for a try against Utah was a thing of beauty. No less artistic was his soft hands to put de Achaval away in the corner. Quill wasn’t part of the most recent Eagles squad but on current form will be hard to leave out in June.
8 – Sebastián Kalm (NOLA Gold) If New Orleans are going to make waves this season it will be largely on the back of their outstanding loose forward trio. Kalm was tremendous against Austin. His try came on his fifth touch of the ball in one attacking sequence. Players with that kind of work rate do not grow on trees.
9 – Mike Petri (New York) After a couple years away from the spotlight the former Eagles starter is back on the scene and scored two more tries against Boston in a vintage performance on Saturday. Others who did well include NOLA’s Holden Yungert, Glendale’s Shaun Davies, and Bautista Marbán who bagged a double for San Luis.
10 – Will Magie (Glendale Raptors) We’ve bumped one prime contender out one spot but that still leaves multiple options including Will Hooley at Bedford and Boston’s Santiago Bertranou. Glendale’s halfbacks were a class apart in Salt Lake City and Magie was perfect from the kicking tee as the Raptors continue to set the standard ahead of MLR season one.
11 – Dan Moor (Wasps ‘A’) Handed a unique opportunity to run out with a Premiership reserve side while studying at Oxford, and he took it with both hands. Two tries scored and strong reviews earn him a place in the team ahead of his international teammate Matt Evans. The latter made it through all 80 minutes and scored a nice try for Cornish Pirates.
12 – Francisco Ulloa (Newman) He’s really a halfback but with so many in contention we’ve bumped him to the midfield. After all it was his running that caught the eye as the 21-year-old scored an incredible four tries against La Tablada on the weekend displaying his pace and vision. Having shown his versatility as both a scrumhalf and flyhalf for Newman the national selectors will be jotting his name down for representative opportunities.
13 – Tim Maupin (NOLA Gold) The team needed some inspiration after a slugging start to the MLR preseason and one has to say the Eagles winger has made an impact. It’s in the midfield where he is now making his mark, with some damaging runs and strong defense against Austin this past weekend. Glendale tyro Mike Kruse impressed with another cracking try against Utah.
14 – Stephen Dazzo (Boston Mystics) Two tries for Bobby Johns in New Orleans and one for Cardiff’s Blaine Scully in the Challenge Cup. This week’s selection comes from Boston, where the Mystics lifted their game to give New York a run for their money. Dazzo scored two long-range tries, the first underlining his deceiving pace and the second showing off his power.
15 – Maximo de Achaval (Glendale Raptors) What a day for the veteran. Two tries scored himself and played a direct hand in two more. de Achaval brings subtlety to a typically direct Glendale side. Santiago Cordero also had memorable day lifting the Anglo-Welsh Cup with Exeter.
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