Marcelo Bosch helped Argentina reach the 2015 World Cup semi-finals but fears the Pumas will not make a similar impact in Japan unless they reverse their decision to ignore European based players.
Argentina are up against England, France, USA and Tonga at the 2019 World Cup and need all the talent they can assemble and head into tomorrow’s clash with England at Twickenham unable to call on more than 20 players who are contracted to French and English clubs, including 39-cap Bosch, who is a double European Champions Cup winner at Saracens alongside Pumas prop Juan Figallo, also cast into test exile.
Bosch is hoping a possible change in the Argentina Rugby Union hierarchy in March could signal a shift of policy but admits that after six successive defeats in this year’s Rugby Championship under coach Daniel Hourcade, it will take more than a recall for their European players to turn the team’s fortunes around. The Pumas team relies on the home-based Jaguares Super Rugby franchise squad that is, like the national team, struggling to find any consistent success.
Bosch said:” I know that there will be a new election of the rugby union board in Argentina in think in March but up to then no changes will apply. There were discussions about bringing in Argentina players from Europe for the November test matches but it didn’t happen and so they are still with the same group(of players) and nothing has changed.
“I don’t know if things will change next year and maybe the results of these three November games may have an influence. If they did call on those other players it would add value to the team but they also have to improve the rugby. Just bringing back players from Europe won’t win games for Argentina – they need to improve aspects of the game they are not coping well with.
“ We have started to play a new brand of rugby, keeping the ball in hand, going through phases to put teams under pressure with quicker ball at the rucks. When we started playing that way we had a good defence, set piece and forwards. Now, teams know how we are going to play and put us under pressure because we play with the ball in hand and our scrum is suffering. It was always a strength and that is quite unusual and I hope that we analysed what happened in the Rugby Championship and get some confidence from these November test matches. “
Bosch points to the loss of No8 Facundo Isa and prop Ramiro Herrera to French rugby as evidence that the current policy is not working and players are still being lured to Europe. He added:“After the World Cup ended in 2015 it was all based on the new franchise about getting the best team possible and keep the emerging players in Argentina.
After two years, results are not being positive, particularly this year in Super Rugby and also for the national team and questions are being asked. Nothing is changing at the moment and it must be difficult for the Jaguares squad which has to deal with Super Rugby and after that they have to play international and that is a pretty tough.
“I didn’t think that after playing super rugby for two years and so near the World Cup that Ramiro Herrera would leave the franchise and join Stade Francais. I found it shocking that Facund Isa left for France but he made his choice and I hope he is enjoying his rugby.
“When players come into the national squad from other teams it always adds value with other strategies and ambitions for the game. They bring a freshness and energy and the more players in the squad the more competition you have for the places all of that generates something good for a team but it is as it is. I am sure the players are giving everything whenever they pull on the Argentina jersey but you take away the competition if the players in Europe are not involved.”
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