Despite having already announced the "final" roster for 2023, Old Glory will be adding another name to the sheet. Tighthead prop Ramiro Herrera, an Argentine international with a decade of high-level professional rugby experience. He will be 34 when the season kicks off in February.
Herrera started out his rugby career with Chenque Rugby Club in Argentina, moving up to Hindu in the URBA Top 13, the top Argentine amateur league, at the age of 20. Three years of success there propelled him to the Pampas XV in the Vodacom Cup in 2013 and then to Castres in the Top 14, the top flight of French rugby. In 2016 he moved to Jaguares, Argentina's team in Super Rugby, for two seasons. In 2017, He returned to France, first for Stade Francais then for La Rochelle. In 2022, he returned to Hindu.
Herrera debuted on the international stage in 2013 and worked his way up to the starting spot. He was the first-choice in the 3 jersey at the 2015 World Cup in England, where he was a key part of Argentina's quarter-final win over Ireland. In total, he had 42 caps for Argentina, 30 of them starts, over the course of six years. He has not played internationally since 2019.
This announcement comes surprisingly late; one can only imagine that there was some complication, perhaps a visa issue, that slowed down confirmation of his signing. It's very much appreciated regardless, though. He will be the most experienced prop by far, as all the other props are in their early- to mid-twenties. That experience will be invaluable for the team and for the players around him, who should be able to learn a lot from such a long-time professional.
This signing is also welcome because Old Glory initially only announced five props, an absurdly low number. With Herrera's signing, the front row numbers are plausible, even if they could still use some depth in that area. However, there is still an issue of the foreign player limit. There are now 15 foreign players on the roster, and 14 of them would ideally be in the matchday 23. However, with only 10 spots available, there will have to be some tough choices. Herrera doesn't make that math any easier.
He is also one of a large contingent of players coming directly out of Argentina's amateur ranks. Lautaro Bavarro and Tito Diaz Bonilla are all also coming from Hindu, which is where Facundo Gattas came from last year. Alejo Daireaux, Fermin Martinez, and Marcos Young are coming from other clubs in the URBA Top 13.
Curious who has been signed and who is leaving? Check out our 2023 Signings Tracker for all the updates!