Uruguayan pair Franco Lamanna and Agustín Ormaechea have signed new professional contracts in France. Lamanna departs Pro Recco of the Italy’s Serie A to join Mazamétain of Fédérale 2, while Ormaechea will spend the 2017-18 season with Strasbourg in Fédérale 1 after leaving the Stade Montois and the Pro D2 where he has been a standout for the past four seasons.
While the semi-professional Fédérale divisions seem below the standard capable of both players, it appears each have committed to making themselves available for all upcoming internationals as Los Teros are due to contest the Americas 2 spot in Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification against Canada in January. With a November tour and the Americas Rugby Championship also on offer, such a commitment would make them less desirable to other Pro D2 or even Eccellenza teams.
The 25-year-old Lamanna has now made 38 test appearances for Uruguay since making his debut against Romania in 2012. Initially selected as a lock, the emergence of taller players such as Ignacio Dotti and Manuel Leindekar has seen Lamanna switched to his preferred position on the side of the scrum, where he made all six of his appearances in 2017. He appeared in three matches during the 2015 World Cup, starting against Australia.
Ormaechea, 26, has been Uruguay’s first choice scrumhalf since 2012. The son of the legendary Diego Ormaechea, Agustín has since seen his starting spot come under pressure by the hugely promising Santiago Arata, and in fact it was the younger player who was preferred during the recent World Rugby Nations Cup tournament. Ormaechea now faces a fight to retain his scrumhalf position or could conceivably make a move to the midfield where he played as captain of the national u20 side in 2011 and won his first four caps.