Argentine star to join Stags ranks
- Credit: Archant
Huntingdon hope the capture of an Argentinian star can help continue a cracking start to 2015.
The Stags have reeled off a hat-trick of Midlands Division One East home wins since the turn of the year and are set to unveil their new recruit when hitting the road for struggling Belgrave on Saturday.
Mauro Henriques de Almeida has signed an 18-month deal to run until the end of the 2015-16 campaign and joint-coach Paul Baynes is excited about the prospect of seeing the South American, who predominantly plays as a flanker, in action.
Baynes said: “We have had overseas players before, but they have always been Australians, Kiwis or South Africans. An Argentine player is a first for us and it is a big step for the club, but one which demonstrates our commitment to grow.
“It came about through a rugby recruitment agency. We have had Mauro’s progress monitored and he arrives with a good CV after playing to a good standard in France.
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“We will give him the chance to experience another culture while developing his rugby. We have high hopes that over the next 18 months he can become a top-class player able to play at a much higher standard.
“In the short-term we are pushing to finish sixth in the league and hopefully Mauro can help us achieve that.
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“To do that we must go to places like Belgrave and put in a performance to pick up a result.”
Almeida will slot into a Stags side in fine fettle following five victories in their last six games.
The last of those was a 30-12 triumph over Nottingham side Paviors at the Racecourse on Saturday.
A sweetly-struck drop goal from Tad Chapman provided the perfect start and the trusty boot of Dan Malem extended the advantage with a penalty.
An unconverted try pulled Paviors back to within a point, but two further Malem kicks stretched the home advantage.
And Huntingdon really kicked on while the visitors were down to 14 men after their hooker had been yellow-carded for a punch during a bout of handbags.
Malem was first to oblige with his fourth penalty before also adding the conversion after Jack Skidmore had gone over under the posts.
Another Malem penalty followed before hooker Seth Muggeridge touched down following a good drive from the forwards.
But the Stags were unable to keep the momentum as they conceded a second try late on and fell short of a bonus point.