With several players rested after the November test window it wasn’t the best weekend for Americas players in the top European divisions. Instead we cast our eye on less prominent competitions, the Liga Heineken in Spain, the Eccellenza in Italy, the French Fédérale 1, and the Campeonato Argentino.
1 – Fernando López (Ordizia) A surprise absentee from the Leones squad against Canada and Brazil, the former Pucará stalwart was in excellent form in the big win over Hernani. Dominated the scrum with embarrassing ease.
2 – Agustín Costa Repetto (Colomiers) Turned back the clock with a huge effort against Carcassonne. His first half try proved essential to the 25-19 win and the cagey veteran lasted nearly the entire match.
3 – Luciano Leibson (Independiente) The former Pumitas selection from San Luis had a big game against La Vila. Two tries in an 80-minute performance that saw him pack down on both sides of the scrum.
4 – Jerónimo Ureta (Buenos Aires) Part of an impressive forward pack that overcame a halftime deficit against an outmatched but committed Cuyo side. Could well be part of the Argentina XV side during the upcoming Americas Rugby Championship.
5 – Samu Manoa (Toulon) Back in the second row against Lyon but that didn’t prevent him from being the team’s leading carrier up front. Made the hard yards and put in a couple thumping tackles in the somewhat one-sided win over Lyon.
6 – Leandro Pérez Galeone (Strasbourg) Had to put in extra effort with his team conceding two yellow cards in the mid-table clash against Bressane. Continues to perform at a high level for his third French club in three years after leaving Chambéry.
7 – Fidel Lamy (Cuyo) The former Pumas flanker was both a hero and a villain against Buenos Aires. A second half yellow card wasn’t helpful but ultimately did not yield points. Two first half tries gave his team every chance of an upset victory.
8 – Robert Barbieri (Benetton Treviso) Not a great week for his team, who were outclassed by an impressive Leinster side. Barbieri was swarmed every time he tried to get over the gainline but he was very noticable in defense, which is enough to earn selection this week.
9 – Juan Manuel Lescano (Ordizia) With no chance to move past Argentina XV honors the diminutive playmaker is instead plying his trade in Spain. His team put 52 points on Hernani with Lescano’s quick service keeping Ordizia on the front foot.
10 – AJ MacGinty (Sale) Good weeks for both Benjamín Urdapilleta of Castres and Tucumán’s Tomás Albornoz. Our choice is MacGinty, who guided Sale to victory despite playing the last 15 minutes of the game with only 14 men. His late touchline conversion of a Mark Jennings try meant that Worcester were running uphill in the final minutes.
11 – Jeff Hassler (Ospreys) Just his second week back from a month-long concussion layoff and he already looks back to up speed. Made ground with every carry and scored a first half try. Sadly the rest of his team did not fare as well.
12 – Roland Suniula (Reggio) His second game for his new club was a winning one. A strong presence in the midfield, scoring his first try in Italian rugby in the dominant victory over Mogliano.
13 – Juan Ignacio Brex (Benetton Treviso) His team’s most effective attacker in the heavy defeat to Leinster. Scored his first championship try in the second half. His strong running has caught the eye of Italian selectors, who could look to use the Olympic loophole to qualify him late next year.
14 – Juan Pablo Estelles (Northampton) Finally getting a run in the senior side and making the most of his opportunities. Saints lost at home on a last-gasp try to Newcastle, but Estelles was excellent throughout. If he wasn’t breaking through the line he was offloading to support.
15 – Martín Bostos Moyano (Bayonne) A stunning performance against Nevers from undoubtedly Bayonne’s most influential player this year. Seven penalty goals, one try, and one conversion for all 28 of his team’s points.