Monday, July 19, 2010

Rosario - Estadio Gigante de Arroyito

Photo TRF
Argentina hosted the 11th edition of the FIFA World Cup in 1978 with the Estadio Dr. Lisandro de la Torre, also known as the Estadio Gigante de Arroyito hosting six matches. As one of the seven venues used by Argentina, Rosario's largest stadium is certain to host matches should Argentina host Rugby World Cup 2023. It has experience hosting test rugby with the UAR utilizing the facility in the 2012 and 2013 Rugby Championships. It also has experience hosting incoming test matches in the month of June.

The stadium was opened in 1929 but remodeled from 1957-1968 into a concrete stadium. It was again remodeled from 1974-78 to give Rosario an appropriate venue to host matches at the 1978 FIFA World Cup. It has been subsequently used to host other important soccer events including matches during the 1987 Copa América, and international matches involving Argentina, most recently a FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifier between Argentina and Brazil in 2009.

The stadium is similar to that of the Estadio Chateau Carreras in Córdoba in that in addition to having a decorated history with soccer it has also hosted international rugby. In 2008, like Córdoba, the Estadio Gigante de Arroyito hosted a rugby international for the first time as Argentina played Scotland. Despite missing many key players due to the match taking place before the French play-off´s, the Rosario public responded and packed the stadium. They would not be disappointed as Argentina scored two tries to nil to win the match 21-15. The stadium also hosted Argentina v Australia in the 2012 and 2013 Rugby Championships.

The Estadio Gigante de Arroyito has a capacity, at present, of 41,654 which makes it large enough to host quarter-final matches. For New Zealand 2011, the capital city, Wellington will host two quarter finals and 5 pool matches. The capacity will be 40,000, making it a lower capacity than Rosario has at present. Furthermore, at Rugby World Cup 2003, Australia failed to fill three of the four quarter-finals matches. The capacities were 52,000 and 53,500. The venue, could also course be upgraded between now and 2023. Should this happen, Argentina would have an even better stadium to host Rugby World Cup matches. At present the Estadio Gigante de Arroyito is a quality venue fit to host Rugby World Cup matches and could be a similar host city to Brisbane for Rugby World Cup 2003 or Wellington for Rugby World Cup 2011.

The city of Rosario is the third largest in Argentina after the capital, Buenos Aires and Córdoba. It was founded in 1793 but has become increasingly important for Argentina due to industry and its strategic location on the Parana River which is wide and deep enough for ships to access. The city has a population of 1.2 million and is famous for its rich involvement in art as well as its nightlife.

Rosario is located in eastern Argentina and is the largest city in the Santa Fé province. It is 300KM north of Buenos Aires, 373KM east of Córdoba, 800KM south-east of Tucumán and 146KM south of the city of Santa Fé. It is located close to half way between Buenos Aires and Córdoba and the main highway from Buenos Aires to Tucumán also passes through Rosario as does the highway between Buenos Aires and Santa Fé.

The city is  therefore ideally suited to act as a venue for key matches with teams moving west from Buenos Aires, or east to Buenos Aires. Given the size of the Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, it could be used to stage 4 or 5 pool matches, in the same way as the above mentioned venues from Rugby World Cup 2003 and 2011. Fans would be greatly advantaged by being able to follow their team in one direction and take in plenty of Argentina at the same time. It would make travelling by land a real an easy option for teams and fans alike.

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