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'Great potential': Irish sign a second Pumas player inside a week

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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London Irish have confirmed their signing of a second player from Argentina inside the space of a week, winger Lucio Cinti Luna putting pen to paper at the Exiles just six days after back-rower Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso felt his future was also best served by joining the Gallagher Premiership club. 

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The 21-year-old has four Pumas Test caps to his credit, debuting versus the Springboks in Port Elizabeth in August and appearing in his country’s most recent match, the early October Rugby Championship loss to the Wallabies on the Gold Coast. 

Cinti Luna is now set to add to that caps tally as he has been included in the Argentina squad for their upcoming matches versus France, Italy and Ireland and he will then link up with London Irish.

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“I’m pleased to join London Irish,” said Cinti Luna. “The Premiership is a great league – a league full of excitement. It is a really good move for me at this stage of my career and I can’t wait to get started after the internationals.”

London Irish boss Declan Kidney added: “We are really pleased to add another quality young Exile to our squad. Lucio has great potential and we are excited about seeing his talent develop during his time with us. We look forward to welcoming him and Juan to Hazelwood next month.”

It was last Wednesday when Gonzalez Samso, the rookie 20-year-old back-rower who forced his way into the Argentina team in the recent Rugby Championship campaign, confirmed he too would be joining London Irish as a replacement for Blair Cowan. With Agustin Creevy and Facundo Gigena already at London Irish, the Premiership club clearly has a soft spot for Argentine players but coach Kidney told RugbyPass last week the origin of his signing was irrelevant. 

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“No, our nickname is Exiles, that is what we are and we have a broad range that we can look at. We don’t specifically go looking for any one nationality. We want to see who the best players out there are that are available to us and the fact that he is younger, you don’t want to say you are building for the future, you are building to the next game, but his age is a good profile for us.”

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