Bath Rugby's Gary Gold: New boy Horacio Agulla's absence is no problem
Gary Gold says he has no qualms about new signing Horacio Agulla being away with Argentina for three months of the season.
The former Leicester Tigers winger was this week confirmed as Bath Rugby's latest signing, and Bath head coach Gold believes Agulla's absence with the Pumas will make him a better player.
In August, Argentina will appear in The Rugby Championship – a new southern hemisphere competition which will see the South Americans play in an annual mini-league against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
The expanded Tri-Nations competition kicks off for Argentina in South Africa on August 18 and culminates with a clash on home soil against Australia on October 6.
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The Pumas then have three international fixtures lined up for November.
Agulla, who played for his country in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, is expected to be a key figure for Argentina during their run of international fixtures, which means he will miss the opening three months of Bath's Aviva Premiership and Amlin Cup campaigns.
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill decided against offering 27-year-old Agulla a new contract because of his international commitments, but Gold believes that competing against the best international players in the southern hemisphere will make Agulla an even sharper asset once he makes his debut for Bath.
"We believe his exposure playing for Argentina in the new Rugby Championship format against the All Blacks, South Africa and Australia will further develop him as a player and Bath Rugby can only benefit from that," said Gold.
Thirty-four cap Agulla, who can also play full-back, is expected to fly to Bath for pre-season training as soon as he has received his visa to play in the UK.
"We're really excited to have Horacio join Bath Rugby for the new season and are looking forward to him getting stuck into training with the rest of the squad," added Gold.
"He's a very good player who is able to play two positions at a high level, which brings great diversity and strength in depth to the team."
Agulla replaces Australian outside back Matt Carraro, who left Bath at the end of last season to join Top 14 side Montpellier.
The fact that Bath have signed a back three player rather than an outside centre indicates Matt Banahan will be utilised more in the centres than on the wing.
Agulla, who won Leicester's 2011-12 Fans' Player of the Season and Try of the Season awards, said of his move: "I'm really excited to be joining Bath Rugby and hopefully helping them to challenge for silverware next season.
"Bath play a good brand of rugby that I believe will suit my game and I'm excited to work with the new coaching team.
"They have some excellent players in their squad and my first challenge is to get into the side and make that starting shirt my own."
Agulla is Bath's fourth new signing for the 2012-13 season – and the only back. He joins lock Dominic Day, hooker Rob Webber and prop Paul James.