Argentina duo playing for rugby places: coach

Tue May 10, 2016 10:03pm EDT
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By Rex Gowar

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina backs Santiago Cordero and Matias Moroni, who thrilled fans at the 2015 World Cup in Britain, will be back at Twickenham this month looking to cement places in the rugby sevens team for the Rio Olympics.

The pair, part of the Jaguares squad in the new franchise's debut season in Super Rugby, have been drafted into the Pumas party for the last two legs of the world sevens circuit in Paris this week and London a week later, their final competition before the August Games.

Coach Santiago Gomez Cora called the Olympics the ultimate sporting experience, and Argentina will be playing close to home, but he told Reuters it was not about simply taking seven top internationals to the Games and expecting to win a medal.

"Cordero and Moroni are players who can boost the team we've been building throughout the season so we think they can give us a nice leap in quality," the coach said in an interview after training.

"But we want the competition (for places) to be fair. We know they play brilliantly but we ... want to see them," added Gomez Cora when asked how sevens regulars might feel about big-name players coming in to snatch Olympic places.

"It was agreed last year with Pumas head coach Daniel Hourcade they would take part in the last two stages of the circuit ... to avoid switching back and forth from one code to the other.

"If they are chosen for the Games they will stay with us after the June (international) window," the 37-year-old Gomez Cora said, referring to the fact the pair may represent the 15-man Pumas against Italy and France in Argentina.

Cordero and Moroni are quick and well suited to sevens, having played on the circuit before becoming established Pumas, but getting back into the shorter game will not be easy.   Continued...

Rugby Union - Argentina v Tonga - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool C - Leicester City Stadium, Leicester, England - 4/10/15
Argentina's Matias Moroni and Santiago Cordero in action with Tonga's Siale Piutau
Action images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers