Argentina’s neighbor across the Rio de la Plata has had a memorable year both on and off the field. Rugby in the country has, for the first time, made moves to have leading domestic based players paid to train on a full time basis while the test side qualified for a first Rugby World Cup since 2003. Together these important realizations combined with rugby’s growth and Argentina being an important global player the future appears bright for all rugby in South America. Uruguay newspaper El Observador suggests so in confirming that in 2014 a record number of almost 9,500 people are now playing the sport in Uruguay.
2014 marked a record for rugby in Uruguay. It was confirmed that for the first time over 9,000 people are playing the sport in the country. With Los Teros participating in Rugby World Cup 2015 and neighbors Argentina being one of the Semi Finals contenders there is every reason to believe that the Uruguayan Rugby Union (URU) will announce a number of players greater than 10,000 in late 2015.
The number just below 9,500 is, according to leading Uruguayan rugby writer, Ignacio Chans covering all of the pyramid from Los Teros to the thousands of children that were involved with rugby both at private and public schools. Chans states that there are 2,000 registered players from under 15 to the senior level who are part of the formal and competitive structure who are considered for international duty at both the junior and senior levels. Continue reading
The Autumn Internationals are over, but who would you pick in a World XV based on Autumn Internationals form? Sure the Southern Hemisphere teams were hardly at the top of their games, but surely the Daily Telegraph’s team is too biased towards Northern Hemisphere players. We must remember that only two major nations were unbeaten, Ireland and New Zealand, while the All Blacks did rotate their squad somewhat.
Some of the usual stars from recent seasons like Ben Smith and Conrad Smith had relatively quiet tours.
Interestingly, Jerome Kaino was one of the only All Blacks to make the cut, yet ironically he was probably in his worst form this season.
The Daily Telegraph’s World XV:
15. Willie Le Roux (South Africa)
14. Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
13. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
12. Jean De Villiers (South Africa)
11. Jonny May (England
10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland) Continue reading
Rugby World Cup 2015 is to be England‘s third time hosting World Cup matches. The tradition of concentrating home matches at Twickenham is in common to that of Wales at the Millnnium Stadium, Scotland at Murrayfield and Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. This factor combined with rugby lacking a nationwide spread in all four nations contributed heavily to the disorganization of Rugby World Cups 1991 and 1999 which featured all four, in addition to France, hosting matches. 2007, for other reasons, saw Wales and Scotland hosting for a third time while Wales will do so for a fourth in 2015. The ability of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) to secure fixtures every eight years is questionable considering many matches not being full and this trend appears set to continue in 2015.
The ethical decision to have Wales hosting matches during England’s Rugby World Cup is one that many have questioned and done so with vigor. The reasoning behind this has been two-fold. Firstly, it takes away from the prestige of the event to have it shared and secondly, Wales has hosted matches every eight years, managing to secure matches in 1991 and 2007 in addition to being the official host in 1999.
From the beginning negative comments have been all too common towards the decision to allow Cardiff to be allocated matches and the IRB, now rebranded as World Rugby, was openly opposed to any match not being played outside of England. The Welsh capital was nonetheless able to secure eight matches making it the second most important city in the tournament while northern half of England received just six matches spread across three cities. Continue reading