Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mar del Plata - Estadio José María Minella

Argentina hosted the Rugby World Cup Sevens from January 26–28 in Mar del Plata in 2001. This was the first time a major rugby tournament had been held in South America. The tournament was won by New Zealand who fielded a star-studed team including players such as Mils Muliaina, Rodney So´oialo and Jonah Lomu who scored three tries in the final. The tournament was a success with over 40,000 people atending the three day tournament. Hosts, Argentina with a few stars of their own including Agustin Pichot and Felipe Contepomi, exceeded expectations in defeating South Africa 14-12 in the quarter finals but New Zealand were too strong for them in the semi´s.

The Estadio José María Minella was build in 1976 and was one of seven stadiums used for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. It hosted six matches, including high profile games such as France vs Italy and Brazil vs Spain. The stadium has a capacity of 35,354 making it comparable to Toulouse which hosted four matches in Rugby World Cup 2007. It also hosted the 1995 Pan American Games.

Los Pumas have also played two international rugby matches at the Estadio José María Minella, vs Spain in 1987 and vs Scotland in 2010. It is likely to host matches more regularly with Argentina to double the number of home tests every year from three to six when they join the Southern Hemisphere´s premier rugby competition, the Tri Nations, in 2012. The venue would be more than capable of hosting four matches should Argentina host a Rugby World Cup.

Mar del Plata is located 400KM south of the country´s capital, Buenos Aires. It is the seventh largest city in Argentina with a population close to 600,000 and is a popular summer destination. As a previous host of Soccer World Cup matches, the Pan American Games, Rugby World Cup Sevens and international rugby matches it is ideally suited to hosting matches should Argentina host Rugby World Cup 2023.


  1. The world needs another Jonah Lomu.

  2. The RWC 2001 was played in January, not March...I have been there!

  3. You are correct Manuel. Thank you for pointing out the mistake. It has since been corrected.

    The 2001 tournament is incorrectly listed on wikipedia as being in March.