Wednesday, June 8, 2011
When the British and Irish Lions organized a home match vs Argentina in 2005 Los Pumas were in quite a difficult situation as the team would be without a larger number of players due to the European club season not having been completed. The match itself took place on the same weekend as the Heineken Cup Final and in total Argentina had 26 players unavaliable due to club commitments. Argentina thus had a huge void to fill across the park and in a number of positions succeeded. A 21 year old named Juan Manuel Leguizamón stated in the backrow wearing the 8 shirt. He had made his debut vs Japan 30 days earlier in a match organized by the UAR in large part to help with the problem of the date of the Lions test. Leguizamón impressed, scoring a try on debut and as such was selected to face the Lions in Cardiff. His performance vs the Lions was impressive and attracted the attention of European clubs and he landed a contract with English club London Irish starting just a few months latter.
After three seasons with London Irish, Leguizamón traded London for Paris and joined glamour club Stade Français in August 2008. During his time with the Paris club he has played in a Top 14 Semi Final match, Heineken Cup Quarter Final and Amlin Challenge Cup Final. He was an ever present player in the backrow. After three seasons at Stade Français, Leguizamón signed for the Pro d2 champions, Lyon who are to play in the Top 14 this coming season. Leguizamón was rumoured to be in talks with a number of other French clubs. His career began in the northern Argentine city of Santiago del Estero which he was born in. He grew up playing rugby alongside his brother and father for Santiago Lawn Tennis before moving to Buenos Aires to play for SIC in an attempt of achieving higher honors. Leguizamón is considered to be a world class player and is noted for his ball carrying abilities especially his acceleration and step. He has been used as a second fullback during broken play.
Born 6 June 1983, Leguizamón has been a permanent fixture in the Argentine team since his debut in 2005. He was won of the most recognizable players at Rugby World Cup 2007 and was singled out by the global rugby media for his performance in the opening match of the tournament vs France for his incredible workrate. He started the first three matches of the tournament in the Pumas 8 shirt before being rested for the clash with Ireland in which veteran Gonzalo Longo started. Leguizamón featured in the Quarter Final win vs Scotland and Argentina´s final two tournament matches vs South Africa and the Bronze Final vs France. He has played for his country in victories over a vast number of teams including Chile, England, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Namibia, Scotland, Uruguay and Wales. During which time he has played a total of 34 test matches and has scored six tries including two at France 2007.