Full name Agustin Pichot
Born August 22, 1974, Buenos Aires
Current age 40 years 194 days
Major teams Barbarians, Bristol Rugby, Richmond, Stade Français, Argentina
Height 5 ft 9 in
Weight 171 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||1999-2007||14||13||1||10||2||0||0||0||9||5||0||64.28|
|Test debut||Australia v Argentina at Brisbane, Apr 30, 1995 match details|
|Last Test||France v Argentina at Parc des Princes, Oct 19, 2007 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Agustin Pichot took up the challenge of bringing worldwide recognition to Argentinean rugby where former talisman Hugo Porta left off. The pair never played together at Test level, but had they done so, they would have formed a formidable axis - Porta the composed, skilful brain of the side at fly-half, and Pichot at scrum-half the cajoling, vocal heart.
Pichot made a try-scoring debut for the Pumas against Australia in 1995 and went on to play in his first World Cup later that year, at the age of 19. At the time he was playing for Club Atlético San Isidro (CASI) in Buenos Aries and was, like most of the Argentinean rugby community, fiercely amateur in his approach to the game. Repeated offers from professional northern hemisphere clubs were rebuffed until his father convinced him to take up an offer from Richmond.
His development at international level continued during his time in England, including a run to the quarter-finals of the 1999 World Cup. Pichot left Richmond for Bristol in the same year, where he became a fan's favourite for four enjoyable seasons, much in the same way that he has at international level, with his style of earthy leadership lending him credibility with supporters, if not fondness from his opponents.
Pichot captained the Pumas for the first time in 2000, in a 34-23 win over a touring Ireland side. While he was only a temporary choice, it would be in the position of captain of his country that Pichot would make his most telling contributions to the state of Argentinean rugby.
Pichot led the Pumas into their disappointing 2003 World Cup campaign, exiting at the group stages following a damaging opening loss to the hosts, Australia. By this time he had left the Memorial Ground and was playing his club rugby with French heavyweights Stade Francais, winning a Top 14 title in 2004.
Pichot's Puma side continued to mature as the professional era took hold, with many of their key players playing in the leagues of Europe. The balance of amateurism and professionalism inherent to Argentinean sides was encapsulated by Pichot. A perceived injustice in their exclusion from top-tier competition and a lack of international recognition spurred them on in claiming more high-profile scalps.
England and Wales were both defeated in the summer of 2006, and Pichot's men were in good shape going into the 2007 World Cup where, in a sensational opening match at the Stade de France, a fired up, physically dominant Argentina downed the hosts, France, 17-12. Pichot harried and harassed the opposition, motivating his side to extreme lengths of commitment while the next great Argentinean outside-half, Juan Martin Hernandez, terrorised the French back three. The French were felled again before the tournament was over, in the third-place play-off, as Argentina made many friends among the fans who filled every stadium along the way.
Pichot retired from international rugby following the tournament, turning down a farewell Test against South Africa as he felt he could not do the jersey justice. He now plays his club rugby for Racing Metro 92 Paris, and is safe in the knowledge that he gave everything for his country and rightly deserves to be held as one of its many sporting greats. Scrum staff (October 2008)