Saturday, December 20, 2014

International Rugby: Argentina's 2015 High Performance Players

Photo UAR
The UAR confirmed a sixty-four man list of home based players to prepare for activities in 2015. Those named are the High Performance, or PladAR, squad members of whom Argentina's team in the Pacific Cup as well as Los Jaguares will be formed. Those named are all in contention for places in Rugby World Cup 2015 as well as a Super Rugby contract for the Argentine team which will debut in the 2016 competition. A number of players involved has experience abroad already and some have opted to stay in Argentina rather than take up an offer. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Retro Friday: Hernández scores second try v Romania in RWC 2003

Photo: Buen Destino
Selected for his first Rugby World Cup as a twenty-one year old, Juan Martín Hernández was Argentina's second choice fullback at the tournament in Australia. With Argentina having been given an inexcusable match schedule from the tournament officials coach Marcelo Loffreda fielded different teams for each match. As such Hernández was on the bench against Australia and Ireland but starting against Namibia and Romania. The match against Romania was played just four days before the crunch match against Ireland while Ireland then faced Australia the following weekend despite Argentina having completed all four pool fixtures. Starting at fly half against Ireland was Gonzalo Quesada who provided the pass for Hernández to enter the line from fullback and run through a gap and show speed to get in untouched in the right corner. Quesada landed the difficult conversion. He would start against Ireland, in what was his final test cap, with Felipe Contepomi at inside centre and Hernández on the bench.   

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sevens: Brazil to be a Core team on the 2015-2016 World Circuit

Image CBRu
The debut appearance of Rugby Sevens as an Olympic sport is fast approaching and to aid the preparation of the home nation it has been confirmed that Brazil will be a core team on the Sevens World Series Circuit. The 2015-2016 season is going to be revolutionary for Brazil and significantly assist in building towards the Olympic Games. 

RWC 2015: Contenders to Represent Argentina - Scrumhalves

Créditos: Rodrigo Vergara - UAR
In the fourth part of an eight part series Argentina 2023 takes a look into the players who could represent Argentina at Rugby World Cup 2015. While previous editions focused on the forwards the current one will be the first to look at backs. The position of scrumhalf has become increasingly settled over the past two years with it all but clear who are the two leading contenders to play for Los Pumas at the World Cup. Questions remain as to who the other players could be to provide cover. Head coach Daniel Hourcade recently specified that he is seeking four players per position to select from for  the World Cup. Who are the players is contention for a possible place in England / Wales 2015?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

International Rugby: Juan Fernández Lobbe wins El Olimpia

Photo: 25 Yardas
Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe won rugby's biggest award in Argentina - the Premio Olimpia de Plata. Him winning the prize is recognition of him being Argentina's leading rugby player in 2014. He was one of three finalists for the rugby award with the others being Nicolás Sánchez and Joaquín Tuculet. While both Sánchez and Tuculet strictly earned their nominations from playing for their country Fernández Lobbe's performances and results for Toulon were also involved. Toulon won both the Top 14 and Heineken Cup earlier in 2014 with Fernández Lobbe being an important player in both c ampaigns.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

International Rugby: Japan to host tests v Uruguay in 2015

Photo URU
Uruguay's international program for 2015 has grown with confirmation that Los Teros are to fly to Europe for the World Cup via Asia and in doing so stop in Tokyo to play two tests against Japan. The matches will be played on August 22 and 29 and will be followed by a final pre-Rugby World Cup 2015 test against either Portugal or Belgium in Europe. Uruguay will debut in the World Cup against Wales on September 20 in Cardiff, the same day that two other  Americas countries - Argentina and the USA will also open their campaigns.

International Rugby: Argentina Test Matches in 2015

Créditos: Rodrigo Vergara - UAR
With 2015 being a Rugby World Cup year all competing unions are extremely busy in preparing adequate fixture lists for their teams to best prepare for the tournament. The year is to be different to that of 2012-2014 for all competitors due to there being no June or November international windows. The post European club season is therefore to be a stand-down period for players based in the continent and, in the case of Los Pumas, players will be returning home to rest ahead of a demanding program which will see Argentina better prepared than for previous World Cups. The South Americans will enter the World Cup after undergoing a solid preparation program and will also play post Rugby World Cup matches in Europe.

Monday, December 15, 2014

International Rugby: Colombia defeat Mexico in intercontinental match

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Image: Mex Rugby
The final test match of the year took place in Mexico City on Saturday as NACRA side Mexico played host to CONSUR side Colombia in a sanctioned international match. Colombia's 62-24 win featured an impressive ten tries as the South American B Champions demonstrated how much progress has been made in such a short period of time. The previous match between the countries took place in 1996 with the teams competing to a 10-10 draw. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rugby Sevens: Northern California bid to host 2018 World Cup

Photo: Mercury News
Northern California, or more specifically, the Bay Area has submitted a bid to host the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup. If successful the three day event would be played in North America for the first time and take place at AT&T Park in San Francisco and the Earthquakes new Avaya Stadium (pictured to the right) in San José. The region is well known within North America for being a hot bed for producing elite rugby players. Current internationals Danny Barrett, Eric Fry, Seamus Kelly, Samu Manoa, Folau Niua, Thretton Palamo, Lou Stanfill and Blaine Scully are played for prominent teams in the Bay Area.