Sunday, August 31, 2014

CONSUR: Venezuela and Colombia win South American B matches

The Northern South American countries of Colombia and Venezuela recorded wins on Sunday over Ecuador and Peru to open the 2014 South American B Championship. Played in the northern Colombian city of Apartadó in sweltering heat the opening round of matches challenged the players immensely. They are to play two more test matches over the coming six days with the overall winner being crowned champion of CONSUR B.   

Saturday, August 30, 2014

International Rugby: Panama to join CONSUR

Image Rugby Redefined
The regional governing body for South American rugby, CONSUR, is to expand to include Panama taking the total number of member unions to thirteen. The central American country is to follow other North American nations including Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala in joining CONSUR rather than NACRA as governing body is increasingly taking on a Latin American rather than South American status. The country is also going to play host to a major international event in October.  

Top 14: Americas Players Review - Round 3

Photo France TV Sport
Round three of the Top 14 was played on Friday and Saturday in France and, despite the home teams winning most matches, there were a number of surprises such as La Rochelle and Oyonnax defeating teams with far larger budgets. Moreover after just three rounds of the new season big teams including Castres and Clermont have dropped matches at home while those to have won promotion from the Pro d2 are proving to be worthy of places in the premier division.  The top five after two rounds all lost in round three. In action were players from North and South America, rugby's only continents yet to have been allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. With the IRB becoming World Rugby the option of Argentina hosting in 2023 becomes stronger. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Rugby Championship: Juan Martín Hernández's banana kick in Salta

Photo UAR
The performance of Juan Martín Hernández in Salta against the Springboks continues to earn praise and more video highlights are appearing of features from the match. Hernández's positional move to inside centre was justified and with it Argentina had an edge to its attack which enabled the South Americans to attack with added venom. The individual pieces of play that established the name El Mago were also on display with Hernández kicking an early drop goal, landing a perfectly judged clearance kick and also a clever banana kick which was similar to his kick v the All Blacks in Wellington in 2012. With Los Pumas flying to New Zealand today the team will be preparing with purpose for the coming test matches.  

Retro Friday: Argentina's Top Five Tries v South Africa

Photo Rugby Tucumáno
Fresh off a late loss at home against South Africa it is time to take a look back at some of Argentina's best tries against the Springboks in this week's edition of Retro Friday. The following five try selection features tries scored over a period covering five decades. Felipe Contepomi had the honor of being included twice while his twin brother, Manuel, also made the list for his try in the Rugby World Cup 2007 Semi Final in Paris. The top try remains, to this day, as one of the greatest ever Argentine tries. It was scored in 2003 in Port Elizabeth. Involved in the try was Juan Martín Hernández who was in the senior squad for the first time.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rugby Championship: How Argentina can beat the All Blacks

Photo UAR
One of rugby's biggest questions is how to defeat the might of the All Blacks. The world's leading rugby team is often spoken about as being unbeatable and has an ability to complete streaks of well over ten consecutive victories. The team is, nonetheless, historically and contemporarily not flawless. While the country has dominated the Rugby Championship and the former Tri Nations it, nonetheless, did not win 22 times out of 72 matches played. At Rugby World Cups New Zealand has a record of two titles out of seven attempts. Moreover those two titles were won at home. In terms of total numbers the performances firmly suggest that New Zealand wins the vast majority of its matches. It does not, however, win them all. Argentina now has an opportunity to win.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rugby Championship: Pumas Squad for New Zealand and Australia

Photo: UAR
Los Pumas headcoach Daniel Hourcade has named a twenty-eight man squad for the second phase of the 2014 Rugby Championship. Argentina will play away test matches against the All Blacks and Wallabies in New Zealand and Australia and will do so with three players included who are yet to play in the 2014 competition. Hourcade has again decided not to call up any players involved with the professional teams outside of Argentina that were not selected in the initial training squad. Consequently Los Pumas will again be playing without players including Patricio Albacete, Manuel Carizza, Matías Díaz, Santiago Fernández and Gonzalo Tiesi.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rugby Championship: Pablo Matera ruled out and requiring surgery

Photo UAR
Argentine rugby has been rocked by the news that twenty-one year old back-rower Pablo Matera will play no further part in the Rugby Championship after he is required to undergo surgery on his left shoulder which was injured in the first half against South Africa on Saturday in Salta. The loss of Matera comes at a time when Argentina is set to announce the return of another back-rower from injury. It also occurs with Matera having performed well in both test matches against South Africa. Headcoach Daniel Hourcade will now likely change his back-row formation with Juan Manuel Leguizamón likely to wear the 6 shirt in place of Matera. 

Rugby Championship: Pumas Injury Update

Photo UAR
Argentina's test players have been given several days off from headcoach Daniel Hourcade. With the most demanding phase of the Rugby Championship approaching the players are to have a recovery period before resuming training on Wednesday in Buenos Aires. Hourcade is to Four players who started the test against South Africa in Salta are in doubt but signs are that they should all be fit. Options exist for the return of players to the squad from club duty either in Argentina or abroad. Some have begun their seasons well in France and await a phone call. In further encouraging news two players are set to return for injury after they missed both matches against South Africa. The squad will travel to Auckland on Friday.