Sunday, March 29, 2015

Aviva Premiership: Americas Exports - Round 18

Photo This is American Rugby
Competition for places in the final four of the English championship, the Aviva Premiership, appear to be clearing up. With four rounds remaining there are five teams fighting it out for places in the Semi Finals. Mathematically there are others in the race but based on performances to date and the quality of different team rosters the Semi Finalists will be four of Bath, Exeter, Leicester, Northampton and Saracens. The Americas is therefore likely to have a number of players in the Semi Finals and Final. This weekend there were players from Argentina, Canada and the USA playing for English premiership clubs. The continental region is unique in never having been allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. Argentina looms as the ideal country to host the global event in 2023 and is interested in doing so.   

Guinness Pro 12: Americas Exports - Round 18

Photo Talking Rugby
Placed in between the completion of the Six Nations Championship and the Quarter Finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup was a round of European professional club rugby. This saw many teams in the Celtic-Italian league fielding depleted lineups due to them having had detailed lists of players heavily involved in the Six Nations. There were nonetheless many imported international players in action including players from Argentina, Canada and the USA. They represent the only World Rugby defined region yet to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. This could change by Argentina having the honor of staging the event in 2023. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Top 14: Americas Exports - Round 21

Photo: Rugby Rama
The twenty-first round of the Top 14 saw upsets taking place at both ends of the table. The dual leaders Toulon and Clermont both lost while the relegation threatened Castres and La Rochelle both won away matches. With five rounds left to play the results make the competition wide open as teams currently in the play-offs zone could yet be relegated. The round further underlined the importance of the Americas to the sport of rugby as players put in noteworthy performances for their French club sides. The Americas is to have four teams competing in the 20 team Rugby World Cup competition later this year. The region is unique in being the only one yet to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. Argentine authorities want to host the World Cup in 2023. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Retro Friday: Manuel Montero stars at Junior World Championship

Photo Super Try
The four year cycle separating Rugby World Cups is soon to recommence and with it attention will quickly move from the veteran players involved in a World Cup campaign for the final time to the potential stars of Rugby World Cup 2019. A player to have emerged between Rugby World Cups 2011 and 2015 is Manuel Montero. In 2011 he was playing for Argentina both at Sevens and under 20 level and staring at the Junior World Championship in Italy. Since then he has won the Pacific Cup in Australia and Pacific Challenge in Australia while for Los Pumas he has established himself in the starting lineup ahead of players contracted to big-name European clubs.   

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pacific Challenge: Santiago Cordero's solo try in Tournament Final

Image UAR
For many players the World Rugby Pacific Challenge was a vital part of World Cup preparations. With competition hot across most positions it was an important opportunity for players to demonstrrate their individual skills while working in a team environment. Fullback Santiago Cordero entered as a player to look out for and did not disappoint. He was the top try scorer in the tournament and crossed for the opening touchdown of the final against the Fiji Warriors in Suva on Monday. Cordero is expected to be signed by the UAR on a Super Rugby contract. His performances in the Pacific Challenge underline his rare try-scoring talents which arguabljy make him the Shane Williams of Argentine rugby. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

2023 Bids: How does World rugby announcement place Argentina?

Photo World Rugby
Earlier this month the global governing body of the sport of rugby, World Rugby announced that the host nation of Rugby World Cup 2023 would be confirmed in May 2017. Upon securing hosting rights the host nation will therefore have six years to organize the World Cup making it the same as New Zealand for 2011 and England for 2015. Those interested in hosting have until June 2015 to confirm their interest while World Rugby will release tender documentation in May 2016, a month before countries must confirm their interest in hosting the tournament.  

Pacific Challenge: Pampas XV defeat Fiji Warriors in Final

Photo UAR
The Pampas XV have made it back-to-back champions in Oceania. The future Argentine Super Rugby side won the Pacific Challenge this morning by defeating the Fiji 'A' side the Fiji Warriors by a scoreline of 17-9 in Suva. With tries to Pumas Santiago Cordero and Jerónimo De la Fuente the Argentine team won while holding firm in defence. The Fijians played well, holding a half time lead before the visitros seized control in the second half to win the title. The Martín Gaitán and Raúl Pérez coached side now returns home to South America undefeated. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

International Rugby: 2015 South American Championship Details

Photo Portal do Rugby
The 2015 South American Championship is to be played in April and May. The four nations competition will feature Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay and be followed by the three team CONSUR Cup contested between Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. The competition is to be a crucial stage of Uruguay's preparation for Rugby World Cup 2015. The second ranked South American rugby team, Los Teros, are to play in a World Cup for the first time since 2003. The model is identical to that utilized in 2014 but with the fixtures in reverse. As such Uruguay will play at home against Brazil and Paraguay and face their closest rivals, Chile, in an away encounter west of the Andes mountains. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Retro Friday: Uruguay's scrum dominates Spain in RWC 1999

Photo WN
On September 20 of this year Uruguay will face Wales in what is to be the country's first Rugby World Cup match in well over a decade. Uruguay previously appeared in Rugby World Cups 1999 and 2003, winning a match in each of these events to give itself a better record than the likes of Namibia or Japan. Los Teros will challenge teams in certain areas such as the scrum. In Uruguay's debut against Spain in 1999 the South Americans had a significant edge and used it to gain the upper hand in winning 27-15 in Galashiels, Scotland. The feat was similar to that of Uruguay v Russia in Rugby World Cup qualification in 2014.