The selection policy of Daniel Hourcade in the 2014 Rugby Championship was that of a coach putting faith in his players as a squad more so than a starting XV. Argentina, consequently, had some players rotated depending on the opposition and almost all squad members were given match time. Injuries meant that in addition to the original thirty-man squad two others were ultimately utilized, thus giving Argentina a squad of thirty-two in the four nation tournament. These players are the names expected to be released shortly by Hourcade for the November tests against Scotland, Italy and France. Who, therefore, are the players that could join them? Quite possibly the answer will come not from Europe but from home.
Of the squad named for the Rugby Championship all players except Matías Orlando, Tomás de La Vega and Santiago Cordero received game time. Orlando was forced out with a series injury while De la Vega missed out due to Benjamín Macome recovering from a broken arm in time to fill the void of the injured Pablo Matera and Hourcade determining that Rodrigo Báez and Javier Ortega Desio merited opportunities.
The back-row selection was justified as Báez and Ortega Desio had fine performances in Mendoza. Consequently the selection of a back-rower playing abroad such as Tomás Leonardí (Edinburgh) or Tomás Vallejos Cinalli (Benetton Treviso) is not likely. Even with Pablo Matera injured and Juan Manuel Leguizamón yet to play since getting injured changes to the back-row are highly unlikely. Continue reading
History was made in Panama City on Saturday afternoon as a new nation was crowned CONSUR C champion. The title came after El Salvador defeated the host nation and, the previously undefeated, Guatemala lost against Costa Rica. The tournament was tight as El Salvador’s title was based on points differential as Costa Rica and Guatemala both also won two matches.
Three of the four Central Americans republics involved in the 2014 CONSUR C championship won two out of three matches with Panama being the only winless side. The other three sides were, overall, evenly matched in their performances which meant El Salvador’s title was determined based on a superior for and against record.
Heading into the final round a title for El Salvador appeared unlikely. El Salvador had played well in the second round to defeat Costa Rica 24-14 but had been defeated by Guatemala in the opening round. Indeed it was Guatemala who were well placed to win the title but with Costa Rica winning 22-17 the dream was ended. Continue reading
After a twelve year drought Uruguay is to compete in a third Rugby World Cup. The South American country sealed the final place at the tournament with a home victory over Russia in Montevideo. The hard-fought win saw Los Teros overcoming a first half deficit to score three unanswered tries in the second half and complete a 36-27 victory over the Eastern Europeans. The result means Uruguay will face Australia, England, Fiji and Wales in Rugby World Cup 2015 and be the only team to face England outside of London.
In front of a packed Estadio Charrua in Montevideo Los Teros celebrated with euphoria as they completed a come from behind victory over Russia to qualify for a third Rugby World Cup. A record attendance of 14,000 supporters for a rugby match in the country underlined the increasing popularity of rugby in Uruguay and why Argentina hosting a World Cup has a lot to offer the region. In qualifying Uruguay took the last vacancy which means the Play-Off Winner spot in Pool A goes to a South American side and not a European.
Uruguay was made to work for the win. The narrow one point loss in Krasnoyarsk meant that Russia was well placed midway through the match in Montevideo. Continue reading