Passed three and a half months for Julián Montoya to step on a pitch again rugby. After a hamstring injury that required surgery, the hooker entered as a substitute and played the entire second in Leicester Tigers, which came close to giving the surprise at the pointer of the Premiership, but that fell tightly on Welford Road.
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After Pablo Matera’s conflictive displacement from the Pumas captaincy, Montoya assumed that role for the next test-matches next July against Wales. A new feature that comes at a good time of his career, with 27 years and consolidated as one of the leaders of this generation of the national team.
“I’m still not very conscious now. The only thing I am thinking is that we are going to get together quickly to be back on the court and do our best. I’m going to try to make it as authentic as possible, ”he said at a press conference last week.
Montoya returned at a very good level and with try included. At 64 minutes he supported after a great push from the maul, a Leicester Tigers hallmark throughout the season. He has four in five Premiership games, a very high average. In addition, he played a good game in general, put his team forward the times he touched the ball and was solid in the scrum.
On a date at the end of the regular season, his team fell to Bristol Bears 26-23 and although they do not have a chance to fight for the semifinals, for now they are within the qualifying positions for the next Champions Cup.
In the local the Pumas Matías Moroni and Tomás Lavanini also played, who played their last match at Welford Road before leaving for France to wear the Clermont colors.
A checkered ending
The closing of the game was one of the most controversial of the England season. With the time fulfilled, Argentine Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro was admonished in Bristol, due to the collapse of a scrum. The regulation states that in these cases the pillar that is in the bank must enter to dispute said formation. John Afoa had left at halftime, and coach Pat Lam explained that he was injured and could not enter, although on the roster they signed that Afoa’s change was tactical.
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There were around five minutes of discussions between the referee and the coaches, with Steve Borthwick of Leicester accusing his colleague of being a liar and with Pat Lam warning the referee that if Afoa entered he could be injured again. Finally, not to be left with 13 players, the former All Blacks got up and entered for that last play of the game.
We’ve never seen anything quite like this …
Bristol Bears’ replacement tight-head prop was shown a yellow card with no time left.
Jon Afoa had previously come off as a ‘tactical’ sub, but tensions rose over his return as both coaches got involved. pic.twitter.com/O8afakCVK7
– Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) June 5, 2021
The visitor managed to hold the scrum, the ball came out haphazardly and they claimed victory on an always difficult court. The New Zealand pillar euphorically celebrated the play in the face of their rivals, which produced a general brawl and a hostile climate, which did not coincide with what had been the whole game. With the triumph, Bristol remains at the top of the tournament and secured home-court advantage in the semifinals.