Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Los Pumas: Catamarca friendly recorded a return of AR$1million

Photo UAR
The potential candidacy of Argentina as the host nation of Rugby World Cup 2023 has been boosted following the announcement that the recent Rugby Championship warm-up fixture in Catamarca turned over a profit of over 1 million Argentine pesos. It further underlines what is on offer by ending the policy of Six Nations members hosting the Rugby World Cup every eight years.  In 2015 Wales will host Rugby World Cup matches for a fourth time and England for a third. Argentina has never hosted a match but is demonstrating the ability of taking matches nationwide - an important piece of hosting a World Cup.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rugby Championship: Juan Fernández Lobbe wins early turnover

Willie le Roux is tackled by Juan Fernández Lobbe
Photo SA Rugby Mag
Regarded as one of the leading back-rowers in the game Juan Fernández Lobbe converted his form for Toulon onto the international stage with a fine performance against South Africa in the opening round of the Rugby Championship on Saturday. The 32 year old was spoken of by numerous South African sources as being the best back-rower on the field and one of the leading players. Throughout the match Corcho demonstrated his class to frustrate the home side. Early on he won a turnover at the breakdown in a display of technique to steal the ball from the feet of scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Rugby Championship: Pablo Matera wins a turnover v South Africa

Foto: Los Pumas debutaron con una ajustada derrota ante Sudáfrica. #PersonalRugbyChampionship2014
Créditos: Rodrigo Vergara – UAR
Daniel Hourcade has balance to his back-row in that he is fielding a left-right combination with Pablo Matera playing on the left side of the scrum and Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe on the right. As such there is not one specialist fetcher but, rather, two depending on field position. Both players won turnovers as fetchers against the Springboks on Saturday and Matera was praised by South African Rugby World Cup winning fly half Joel Stransky. It follows on from former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson hailing him in the 2013 Rugby Championship. Aged just 21 Matera is over a decade younger than Fernández Lobbe.  

Rugby Sevens: Buenos Aires wins World Club 7's in London

The URBA side competing in the World Club 7's even in London was crowned champions. The Buenos Aires side known as the Aguilas (Eagles) defeated Auckland 26-22 in the final at Twickenham. Coached by Diego Albanese, Manuel Contepomi and Pedro Candotti the South Americans had a tournament to remember with victories over teams from a host of countries. Involved were Sevens sides from top flight professional sides including Gloucester, Harlequins, the Waratahs, Western Province, the Blues Bulls and the Cardiff Blues whom the URBA side defeated 7-5. The team that won the final consisted of Nicolás Menéndez, Tobías Moyano,  Santiago Alvarez Fourcade, Marcos Bollini, Bautista Guemes, Joaquín Paz and Franco Sábato. 

Rugby Championship: Pumas deactivate attacking South African Maul

Photo Wales Online
Having won a lineout just five metres out from the Argentine tryline South Africa would, in theory, have been in a very solid position to create a try. Upon taking the lineout  replacement Eben Etzebeth turned to present the ball to his teammates but rather than advance in a rolling maul the South Africans were forced several metres backwards and into touch. Calling the defensive play was Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe who headcoach Daniel Hourcade had positioned in the middle of the lineouts. The Toulon back-rower read the move and saw the maul quickly deactivated. In previous Rugby Championship fixtures such a position had tended to see Argentina tactically caught out.     

Rugby Championship: New Pumas Front-row challenges South Africa

Photo UAR
New captain Agustín Creevy contributed to a
solid scrum and acted well in both the set piece
and around the field.
A lot of questions have been raised in regards of the ability of Argentina to provide a reputable front-row combination following the loss of the first and second choice tighthead props and also a new hooker. With Juan Figallo and Maximilano Bustos having suffered serious injueries Daniel Hourcade opted to groom the previously uncapped Ramiro Herrera and also replace aging hooker Eusebio Guiñazú with Agustín Creevy who covnerted from back-row to hooker in 2009. Together with Leicester veteran Marcos Ayerza the new front-row combination demonstrated the technique of the bajada to send back the heavier South African pack throughout the opening round fixture of the 2014 Rugby Championship. In the first scrum of the game the scrum saw Argentina awarded a penalty. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Top 14: Americas Players Review - Round 1

Photo Bayonne
The Top 14 got underway this weekend with a full round of seven league matches. Involved for French sides were players from the Americas, the only IRB defined region yet to be allocated a Rugby World Cup. With Argentina, Canada, Uruguay and the USA all having players involved in the league the case for the region's leading rugby country, Argentina, to host Rugby World Cup 2023 is one to be seriously considered.  Three of the four have qualified for Rugby World Cup 2015 and the fourth, Uruguay, is one of two finalists for the final vacancy. 

Rugby Championship: South Africa v Argentina Highlights

Photo UAR
After the opening round of the 2014 Rugby Championship South Africa is the leader. The Africans defeated Argentina 13-6 in Pretoria in a one try to zero victory. The only try of the match saw scored by South African scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar in the second minute. Rain made conditions very challenging but Argentina tried to attack and came close to completing a late draw. In the other match of the round the All Blacks winning streak was ended as the Wallabies sealed a late 12-12 draw in a tryless match. Round two will be played next weekend with matches taking place in Auckland and Salta.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Retro Friday: Patricio Albacete scores for Argentina v Georgia in Lyon

Photo Rugby Tucumano
Capped 57 times by Argentina giant second-rower Patricio Albacete has three Rugby World Cups to his name and numerous club titles in France and Europe playing for Toulouse. His impact on the field has seen him being regarded as one of the leading players in his position worldwide. His contribution in terms of points has been more limited with one international try  too date, scored in Rugby World Cup 2007 against Georgia. The try was Argentina's third of four in a hard-fought bonus point victory in Lyon. Now aged 33 a lot of talks remains as to the playing future of Albacete in Pumas colors. Despite him missing in action he will nonetheless be playing as Toulouse host Oyonnax in a round one Top 14 fixture also being played on Saturday.