Argentina are set to host Australia in the final match of the 2017 Rugby Championship on Saturday. The Pumas are desperately hoping to earn their first win in this year’s tournament as they take on the Wallabies in Mendoza, where they were victorious in the same fixture last year.
Ahead of playing for Saracens this weekend, 24-capped Argentine prop Juan Figallo has spoken to Pundit Arena about his frustration at the Pumas outlook on selecting foreign based players, suggesting that the lack of competition for places around the Jaguares team is affecting the national side.
In a week that’s seen Rhys Webb turn his back on Welsh Rugby to head to France, the issue is very much one that prevails across all international teams as Figallo explains.
“I’m not involved with Argentina anymore, if you play in Europe you cannot play for the national team. Of course I would like to see this changed, definitely but it’s not my call.”
“The thing is, if you are in the Jaguares you’re already in the national team. Before, you’d be in different clubs and you’d earn your way to the national team. Now there isnt that competition between different players competing for spots to try and get into the national team.”
Traditionally reknowned for their strength in the scrum, Figallo seemed dismayed at the apparent weakening of the Pumas game in this area.
“We need to change something. We used to be good but now we’re not even winning our own ball. I don’t think it’s a front row problem as it’s the same front row that played in the world cup and they played brilliantly. I think it’s a collective effort. They need to get back to the principle of eight players working together, not working individually.”
The final Rugby Championship game kicks off at 2340 BST in the UK, 1940 in Mendoza.