Old Glory's prominent recruitment of Argentina continues with center Fermín Martínez. The 25-year-old is noticeably less experienced than the other signings this season, with his top-level rugby experience being four years at URBA Top 14 club Belgrano. Unlike the previous South America signings, Tito Díaz Bonilla, Lautaro Bavaro, and Facundo Gattas, Martínez did not play at Híndu, so he is not a former teammate of any of those players.
He comes into Old Glory as something of an unknown quantity. While Belgrano is one of the best clubs in Argentina's top domestic league, it is also still an amateur club. That means that Martínez will be making his professional debut when he lines up for OGDC. And right now, it's looking like he'll go straight into the starting lineup, since there isn't a lot of depth in the centers. Willie Talataina has been a star for Old Glory, but the other center jobs hasn't had anyone claim it as their own: Thretton Palamo is aging and struggles with injuries, Doug Fraser looks better on the wing, Renata Roberts-Te Nana is actually a fullback, and Simi Moala hasn't managed to develop past being a crash-ball runner. So we could be seeing a lot of Martínez in the coming season, assuming he's up to the task.
I have high hopes for this signing, although I'll be honest, if Martínez lives up to his promise, it will be one of the more impressive scouting jobs that Old Glory has done. The sheer quantity of rugby he's played for Belgrano is worth noting: 80 caps (all but four of them starts) with nearly 5,600 minutes recorded, and 16 tries. That's a lot of rugby, but it remains to be seen how it translates to Major League Rugby.
All in all, I think this is a good signing, and if nothing else, I'm willing to trust the coaching staff's eye for talent. Put me down as optimistic, if somewhat cautiously so.
Curious who has been signed and who is leaving? Check out our 2023 Signings Tracker for all the updates!