Top 14 title-chasers Toulouse – the Top 14 2018/19 champions – have called in reinforcements from Argentina in the guise of Juan Cruz Mallia to help tide them over in the absence of Romain Ntamack, who recently underwent surgery on a double jaw fracture.

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Aside from sidelining him from the early part of France’s Guinness Six Nations campaign, Ntamack has been absent from a busy part of the Top 14 season where Toulouse currently lead the way at the top having won their last six league matches following a draw with Castres.

Mallia, a 24-year-old Cordoba, has signed for a ten-month period from his local club in Argentina following a 2020 calendar year which culminated in him starting for Argentina at centre in their late November Tri-Nations defeat to New Zealand in Newcastle.

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JP Doyle reacts to a referee being lifted up in celebration at the end of a Pro D2 match in France

The versatile midfielder made a June 2018 Test debut versus Scotland at Resistencia and was part of the Los Pumas squad at the 2019 World Cup under Mario Ledesma.

He made his first-ever Test start at the finals in Japan, lining up in the midfield against the USA and scoring two tries. However, it wasn’t until the final match of their four-game Tri-Nations campaign in Australia two months ago that Ledesma picked Mallia again his sixth cap and a second start. 

Mallia, who had been part of the Jaguares Super Rugby set-up and played 16 times before the Buenos Aires-based franchise were put into cold storage due to the pandemic, is set to arrive in France next week after signing as “an additional player” to help the Toulouse backline cope minus Ntamack whose injury, sustained in December, has an eight-week rehab timeline.  

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Without a match last weekend, Toulouse restart their Top 14 campaign this Saturday at bottom of the table Agen, who are winless after 14 matches and recently released Tongan hooker Paula Ngauamo who has signed for Castres.   

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